Bristol Rovers receive boost in Ellis Harrison pursuit as manager confirms player transfer stance

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A reunion between Bristol Rovers and Ellis Harrison could be drawing closer after comments from Steve Cotterill

Shrewsbury Town manager Steve Cotterill has poured cold water on a move for Ellis Harrison which could pave the way for a return to Bristol Rovers.

Harrison is allowed to leave Portsmouth this transfer window and a move to the Memorial Stadium has been suggested.

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A report from Portsmouth.co.uk says that the Gas along with Fleetwood Town were amongst three clubs interested in acquiring his services

The other club mentioned however, Shrewsbury Town, are seemingly not interested in signing the player.

Cotterill told the Shropshire Star: ‘It’s agent talk, I expect.

‘I don’t really like to talk about any individual players.

‘Even if he was sat in the car park now I wouldn’t tell you! We’ve just got to wait and see on that.

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‘When we think we’re getting the right ones then we’ll move them in.”

Former Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill may have paved the way for Rovers to resign Harrison. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Former Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill may have paved the way for Rovers to resign Harrison. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Former Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill may have paved the way for Rovers to resign Harrison. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Cotterill’s comments echo his stance in the transfer market as they have most recently concluded the deal for a striker.

The former Robins boss has returned to his former club to take striker Saikou Janneh on loan until the end of the season.

Given the addition of Janneh and the likes of Daniel Udoh, Ryan Bowman, Rekiel Pyke, and Sam Cosgrove already on their books then it seems unlikely they would move for another striker.

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That just leaves Fleetwood Town to deal with if the Cod Army and Rovers are the only teams interested in Harrison.

Fleetwood are of course Joey Barton’s old club so there could be a bit of a transfer tussle for the Rovers academy graduate.

They have a slight advantage in that they play in the higher division but they’re embroiled in a relegation battle and remain out of the bottom four only by goal difference.

It is believed that Harrison does have a preference on remaining in the third tier of English football. Only at Rovers and a two-game spell at Hartlepool United has he played in League Two or a division below.

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There is an element of risk that Harrison isn’t match fit though. The player himself hasn’t featured much this season and was an unused substitute in Pompey’s last match.

The 27-year-old has played 11 times this season but a majority of them have been off the bench. He did strike in both the EFL Trophy and the FA Cup but still the minutes accumulated on the pitch this season is still only 344.

Rovers’ early January signing of Scunthorpe United striker Ryan Loft could also affect Harrison coming here with a fee exchanged for his services. Depending on whether Portsmouth would entertain a loan offer, there may not be enough money to afford a second striker on a permanent deal.

Before the window opened, Joey Barton said in December: “It’s an opportunity to bring one or two in who might complement the group. For us, we don’t really feel there’s a massive need to do an awful lot.

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“We have got to do something in the frontline, we’d like to bring in at least one, maybe two options there. But the January market is notoriously difficult to do that.”

Of course there is room for Harrison to partner Ryan Loft in attack should a move materialise but they already have options there. It is dependent on what Barton defines as a second striker.

Aaron Collins is likely to partner Loft in attack whilst the likes of Brett Pitman and the returning Harvey Saunders are waiting in the wings, whilst joint-top scorer Antony Evans and Sam Nicholson can also play there.

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