Bristol Rovers beat off competition to sign Scunthorpe United top scorer Ryan Loft

The Gas have made their first signing of the January transfer window by swooping to sign a striker from their League Two rivals

<p>Bristol Rovers have parted with a transfer fee to sign Ryan Loft. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)</p>

Bristol Rovers have parted with a transfer fee to sign Ryan Loft. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers have made their first acquisition of the January window after they completed the signing of Scunthorpe United striker Ryan Loft for an undisclosed fee.

As reported to you by BristolWorld earlier this week, there had been interest from Rovers with an offer put on the table and talks developed quickly enough for a deal to be concluded.

Loft puts pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Memorial Stadium for the next two-and-a-half years, subject to a medical.

He had been subject of strong interest from Colchester United and Suttonbut it is Rovers who have flexed their muscle and conducted their business early.

After his arrival was announced by the club, the young forward said: “I’m buzzing. I can’t wait to get started and show the Rovers fans what I can do.”

Joey Barton had stressed his desire to add more options to his forward line and just four days into the window, he has got his desired target and he was delighted to get the signing over the line.

“We are delighted to bring Ryan in”, the manager said to the official club website.

“At 24, he’s a perfect age, full of potential and we know what he can bring to the club.

“The January transfer window is notoriously difficult to navigate, so it’s been great to strike early.”

Ryan Loft scored against Joey Barton when he was manager of Fleetwood Town. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

The 24-year-old has scored six goals in 19 appearances for the side second from bottom of League Two, ranking as their joint top scorer. Last season he scored nine goals in 43 appearances,

He stands at six foot and three inches which will add some much-needed height to Rovers’ front line, given the absence of Leon Clarke who remains sidelined.

Joey Barton has deployed both Antony Evans and Sam Nicholson as makeshift strikers this season, so the addition of an out-and-out physical striker will give him a different option to choose from.

As he played in Scunthorpe’s defeat to Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup, he will not be eligible for selection for Saturday’s third round tie against Peterborough.

He could make his debut in the league though against Hartlepool United at the Mem a week later though.

As well incomings, youthful duo Lucas Tomlinson and Ollie Hulbert have both had their stays at Gloucester City extended until the end of the season.

The Tigers are managed by Rovers legend Lee Mansell and are currently in a battle to avoid the drop and both Hulbert and Tomlinson have been vital to their plans.

Hulbert has scored nine goals since joining in October after briefly playing for Hereford, whilst Tomlinson joined at a similar time and has made nine appearances.