The 33-year-old returned to the club on deadline day, and after three substitute appearances is now lining up for the first time in his second stint in blue and white.
James Connolly also returns to the starting lineup for the first time since August, the defender made his return off the bench at Derby, however hasn’t started since the defeat to Portsmouth, suffering a back fracture in a training session.
Connolly partners Burnley loanee Bobby Thomas in the centre of defence, with Lewis Gibson still missing after limping off the pitch at Sheffield Wednesday.
Josh Coburn is also not featuring, with Middlesbrough asking Bristol Rovers not to play the striker in case Coburn’s parent club decide to recall him in January, the 19-year-old would then be cup tied for Boro if he featured today.
Barton’s striker options are limited still, with Ryan Loft being substituted against Sheffield Wednesday with a suspected knock and John Marquis still absent after picking up a knee injury against Crystal Palace u21s.
Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): James Belshaw, Lewis Gordon, James Connolly, Bobby Thomas, James Gibbons, Antony Evans, Jordan Rossiter, Sam Finley, Scott Sinclair, Aaron Collins, Luke McCormick.
Substitutes: Anssi Jaakkola, Luca Hoole, Trevor Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Harvey Saunders, Zain Westbrooke, Glenn Wheelan.
Rochdale AFC: Richard O’Donnell, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Liam Kelly, James Ball, Devante Rodney, Abraham Odoh, Jimmy Keohane, Sam Graham, Toumani Diagouraga, Cameron John, Ian Henderson.