Brentford make transfer decision as Bristol Rovers ‘set to sign’ goalkeeper
Another goalkeeper has been linked with a move to Bristol Rovers this transfer window
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Goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe has emerged as a potential transfer target for Bristol Rovers, with a possible decision expected from Brentford imminently. He has been recalled by the London club from a season-long loan, and according to reports, the Gas are in the driving seat to sign him.
Football League World say that the Bees are contemplating whether to recall Balcombe from his loan at League Two outfit Crawley Brentford would likely send the shot-stopper out on loan again rather than keep him given they have both David Raya and Thomas Strakosha competing for the number one spot.
Balcome has been out on loan since the start of the season and made his debut against Carlisle United on the opening day, but suffered an injury that sidelined him until the end of October. The 23-year-old since returning from injury has been their first-choice and has kept three clean sheets in the 12 matches he's played this season.
He has played in League One before, playing 15 times for Doncaster Rovers in a spell in which he kept four clean sheets in 15 matches. He was at Burton Albion last season for the first part of the campaign but was only a back-up choice at the Pirrelli Stadium.
Dan Marsh, a journalist for the Daily Mirror and the South London Press says that Rovers are 'set to sign' Balcome on loan from the rest of the season after the loan was cut short.
A move for Balcombe would put pressure on to James Belshaw, who has been the first-choice goalkeeper since Joey Barton's arrival. Belshaw has missed just four league fixtures in the 18-months he has been at the club. The 32-year-old kept more than a dozen clean sheets last year, but has struggled to keep goals out at a higher level.
Rovers are on the search for six new players, including three defenders and a new goalkeeper could be on the shortlist. Anssi Jaakkola is back up to Belshaw, but took on coaching duties earlier this season, and has yet to start a league match this season, instead playing in the EFL Trophy.
“Everyone’s position is under threat,” Barton said at the end of December in the aftermath of the 4-3 defeat to Exeter City. "Certainly, when you don’t do your job. Belly has saved us in lots of moments but, for me, you’ve got to be a lot more effective. If you’re conceding goals, you’ve got to organise the lads in front of you.
“If there’s a puncture, you’ve got to take a tyre off. At the minute, Belly keeps goal - we’ve conceded 41 goals and if that doesn’t start to improve then naturally his position, like everybody else’s in the defence and midfield, will be under duress.”