'Right direction' - Bristol Rovers boss Matt Taylor hints contract extension is close for club's top scorer

Chris MartinChris Martin
Chris Martin | Getty
The Gas have the option to extend the forward’s stay at the club for a further year.

Bristol Rovers boss Matt Taylor has confirmed that Gas striker, Chris Martin’s “discussions” are “pushing in the right direction,” as the 35-year-old’s contract is due to expire this summer.

The club have an option to extend the former QPR striker’s stay at the Gas for a further season, as the free agent joined back in September.

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“Yes, there is discussions pushing in the right direction,” said Taylor. “We are trying to be clear with the board and everyone else at the club, in what direction we want to take the team and who we want to keep working with. He has had such a stellar season in terms of goal scoring, but also value on the pitch and I said after the Reading game about how important it was he was on the pitch to defend set pieces as much as anything else. He is incredible in both boxes, he gets there first so many times and how many times has he scored that type of winning goal on Tuesday? That was his type of goal, so long may that continue.”

The centre-forward has netted 16 times for Rovers in League One this season and has been involved in 34 matches. The veteran missed pre-season and only joined the group after the season commenced and therefore the 35-year-old has done extremely well to stay fit throughout the whole campaign. “We have probably over used him this season and certainly since Christmas we have probably used him too much,” said the Rovers boss. “That's no disrespect to him, because he is so robust and he can keep doing it, but in terms of energy and mind and body, everything in terms of that package, he has got to see himself more as when he's on the pitch, he is on the pitch for a certain amount of time and really causing defenders havoc, but he has been so valuable. I have never been able to de-load him, I believe this team is a better team with Chris Martin in it.”

The 42-year-old was also asked whether any other players were close to agreeing new contracts, as it is setup to be an extremely busy summer at the Gas, with out of contract players in double digit territory and six loanees heading back to their respective parent clubs. “It's a traditional, it’s like Christmas isn’t it? You wait until the last game of the season and then you release it two days later. But, in the meantime there is conversations with players and staff and everyone else involved at the football club, to see that if they are here, what it looks like, what we expect, the standards and where we want to take the team, so honest conversations leads to accountability and responsibility and hopefully that is a good start for next season.”

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