Joey Barton hints at Bristol Rovers big change to accommodate new signing Chris Martin

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton assesses formation options as Chris Martin signs for the Gas.
Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)
Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton has hinted a potential formation change to accomodate new signing Chris Martin.

Martin joins the club after a short spell as a free agent, following his departure from Queens Park Rangers, where the striker scored four times in 16 matches for the Championship side.

Since the transfer deadline day drama at the Mem where the Gas narrowly missed out on the signature of Peterborough United striker Johnson Clarke-Harris, it has since left a huge amount of responsbility for number nine John Marquis to lead the line for the club.

“We were quite vocal about signing another striker before the window closed”, said Barton to BBC Radio Bristol on Having a Gas.

“Not only did we not sign another striker, we ended up losing Ryan Loft in the midst of that and we were light anyway.”

Martin joins the club with a vast amount of experience, including a three year spell at arch rivals Bristol City, where the 34-year old scored 17 times in 95 apperances for the Robins.

The ex Scottish international will be hoping to prove his worth at Rovers under his new manager.

“We knew Chris was on the market and he had ambition of playing a little bit higher up the pyramid”, said Barton.

“He’s wanted to come in, he’s been here for the last couple of weeks, he’s trained with us, he’s really settled in the group.”

Barton has favoured a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 over the last 12 months and has also at times played a 4-4-2. The former Fleetwood Town manager could alter his side’s formation and tactics to accommodate both Marquis and Martin.

“It will allow us to partner up John if we want to change the field a little bit,” said Barton.

“He (Martin) is a really important piece for the squad, for us to get that bit of depth in that area as we go into these few tough months of League One football.”

Martin has initially signed a contract at the club until January, with the option for extension based on performance.

Rovers fans will be keen to see how their side line-up on Saturday, as the Gas travel to the Posh. Barton has hinted that their will be plenty of opportunity for Martin to prove himself in the next coming weeks.

“He’s got an enormous amount to offer on and off the pitch.

“He gets a chance to put himself in the shop window and show us what he is about and if it goes really well then we have the option to extend that further.”