Bristol Rovers transfer update as Joey Barton rues Newcastle United star’s return
Bristol Roves’ priority in the ‘dying embers’ of the transfer window are simple - sign some wingers!
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Bristol Rovers are likely to utilise the loan market in the last few days of the summer transfer window.
First-team manager Joey Barton wants to ‘spin the wheel’ with a few clubs, however that will make any deals go down to the wire.
Lewis Gibson, signed on a season-long loan from Everton, is their only temporary arrival, which is small compared to last season.
The Gas’ had a major reliance on loan players with Elliot Anderson, Connor Taylor and James Connolly and Luke Thomas a big part last season.
Connolly has since joined on a permanent deal but the former Newcastle United midfielder is hoping to utilise his contacts for some up-and-coming talents.
Tuesday’s EFL Trophy match against Plymouth Argyle is a slight deterrent into speeding up deals, but more deals may come the day after.
"I think Tuesday night, everyone will be getting the EFL Trophy out of the way and I think at that point, it will start to shake down," Barton said in his post-match press conference after the draw with Shrewsbury Town.
"We’ve had the second round of the League Cup last week and that will shake the market out and we’ve still got four loan spaces and I’m hoping to utilise all of them.
"We’ve done good business in securing our assets from last year and the players we have brought in have really complemented the group. If we can keep adding quality to it, that’s going to be the key.
"We might spin the wheel on a couple of loans out of clubs, but that probably won’t shake out until Wednesday and Thursday and the dying embers of the window.
"We’ve got a couple of things we’re trying to move on in the meantime and hopefully by Tuesday night, we get a bit of wiggle room on that.”
Despite losing a centre-back in James Connolly for at least a month due to a stress fracture, a wing-player is the most desired position he would like to fill.
Sam Nicholson opted to rejoin Colorado Rapids, rejecting Rovers’ new offer of a contract, whilst Luke Thomas and Elliot Anderson have returned to their respective parent clubs.
There had been talk of Thomas making a return to the Mem, but he has since become an important figure under Barnsley’s new boss Michael Duff.
Anderson meanwhile, who set the world alight during his loan spell, has been on the fringes of the Newcastle United first-team squad.
The 19-year-old made his first start for the Magpies in their Carabao Cup win over Tranmere Rovers, but so far has been an unused substitute in their Premier League matches.
Anderson is highly rated by first-team manager Eddie Howe and despite a raft of clubs, including Rovers being interested, it is likely he will remain at St James Park.
Expressing his desire for a new winger, Barton said: “We haven’t got any wingers at the minute, we had Luke, Sam Nicholson and Elliot Anderson last year, we haven’t replaced them. Harry Anderson played on the wing-today which is his natural position. He’s had 60 minutes and then gone to left full-back.
“Azza is the other winger, the lads are trying their absolute maximum for us. We’re not as strong in my opinion in terms of the team, it’s not as strong as last year because you had clearly defined.
“Everybody knew let’s get the ball to Elliot, certainly in the second-half of the season. He would be in those wide areas and the team could function around that.
“You have got a tip to your spear, at the minute we are still trying to find that. Probably up util January and February we were striving for that, the lads are striving for that. Aaron Collins has been a real striving light.
He added: “Sometimes you sign a player, a couple of players and the energy just changes. We saw that last January, we have seen that in the summer before with Evo, they’ve brought a different feel.
"I’m really hopeful that we will do some business between now and Thursday and I think our season, certainly the first half of the season, will be massively aligned with what type of quality we get in and we must take some creative players and we must take some wingers because we’ve lost three and we haven’t replaced them."
A lot of deals may depend on how the parent club sees their development of their players that will be available for loan.
The likelihood is that Rovers will be in competition with their League One rivals, as well as perhaps a Championship team for the signature of some players should they source loans from a higher division.
Barton has so far managed to bring in seven players to the club, including the returning Luke McCormick, who’s wait for his second debut will go on after not being included against Shrewsbury.
Other signings include Jordan Rossiter, John Marquis, Lewis Gordon, Gibson, as well as the sidelined James Gibbons and Connolly.
Whilst there is a massive desire to recruit new signings, Barton believes that once the plates on the sidelines are fit, there is a team capable of at least competing at this level, at least until the January window opens.
He said: "Whatever we get after Thursday, we’ll have and we will make the best of it and we’ll go hard.
"We’ve certainly got enough of a solid foundation of lads to compete when everyone’s fit, but if we can add one or two more or a little bit of quality to that then I think we’d be stupid not to do so. I think it would really move the group on.
"The window for me now is getting it closed and knowing what we’ve got in the building and knowing what we’ve got to work with.
"We’re all on the same page and we’re all in it together. We know what we’ve got to do so there is no point in me bleating on in the press about it, I’ve been vocal about what I need.
"Our job is to make the best of the tools at our disposal when the window closes on Thursday night."