Bristol Rovers set for transfer frustration as Stoke City make their stance known

Connor Taylor is unlikely to return to Bristol Rovers in this transfer window. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Connor Taylor is unlikely to return to Bristol Rovers in this transfer window. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Connor Taylor is unlikely to return to Bristol Rovers in this transfer window. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The Gas may have to look elsewhere as a long-term transfer target looks to be unavailable

Stoke City have rejected several bids for centre-back Connor Taylor, revealed manager Alex Neil. Taylor will spent the entirety of the 2022/23 season in the Midlands as the former Bristol Rovers defender battles for a first-team berth.

The 21-year-old started in the Potters’ 3-0 win over Hartlepool United, earning a recall to the side after finding himself out of favour since Neil’s arrival. Taylor had not started a game since mid-September until then.

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A lack of game time has prompted clubs to ask questions over his availability in the January transfer window. Rovers themselves are looking to recruit across the pitch, with Joey Barton eyeing defensive reinforcements to stop the leaking of goals. Out of the 24 clubs in League One, only Burton Albion and Forest Green Rovers have conceded more than Rovers.

Dessite only playing five times since Michael O’Neil’s departure, Potters boss Neil  has stopped Rovers and other clubs from making a move from him away from the Championship club.

“Connor has got great scope,” said Neil to the Stoke Sentinel. “There are teams that are interested in Connor and I’m very reluctant to let Connor go. Connor is going to stay here for the rest of the season, we’re not going to let him out.

“We’ve had a few teams ask for him on loan but that’s not going to happen. The likelihood is that Connor Taylor will be here at the end of the window. He won’t be going anywhere.”

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Taylor had an extremely successful loan spell with The Gas last season, playing in the majority of their promotion-winning campaign from League Two. He built up a strong partnership with James Connolly, who joined in the second part of the campaign.

At Stoke, he has played 12 times this season, but in the first 11 games of the campaign. Taylor’s lack of game time even saw him feature for the Under-21’s in the Premier League 2. His pitch time is in stark contrast to what he did at Rovers, playing 47 games across four competitions, scoring three times.

Rovers are all but certain to recruit a new centre-back, with Alfie Kilgour touted for a move away to Exeter City, as well as two queuing League Two clubs. Bobby Thomas and Lewis Gibson meanwhile are only on loan at the club until the end of the season.

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