Ex-Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke midfielder begins coaching journey at Bristol Rovers

The Republic of Ireland international midfielder has opted for a return to Bristol Rovers - this time as a member of Joey’s backroom staff

Glenn Whelan has made a return to Bristol Rovers as he joins Joey Barton’s coaching staff in a slight reshuffle ahead of the League One season.

Two months ago, Whelan was the most high profile of one of 13 players to be released by the Gas, though the door was never shut with Barton stating some may return.

But now the 38-year-old is back in the building and will work alongside the likes of first-team Andy Mangan and assistant Kevin Bond.

He has been a long-term friend of Barton and the pair first came across one another during their youth days at Manchester City, whilst they were also at Fleetwood Town together.

Whelan’s main priorities will be to coach this season but should he be required he will be available for selection as a player, opting not to hang his boots just yet.

Commenting on Whelan’s appointment, Barton said: “Glenn’s influence both on and off the pitch last year was huge.

“His infectious nature means that when the opportunity arose to bring him back as a coach, it was a no-brainer. The experience and knowledge he can pass on to the lads will be a key factor for us moving forward.”

The 91-time capped Republic of Ireland midfielder is not the only person to be added to the backroom staff.

Danny Ventre, a former midfielder of Accrington Stanley and mainly Sligo Rovers, will also be joining Barton’s team as more resources are made available to deal with the demands of League One football.

The 36-year-old has recently began his coaching journey and led the Under-18's side of Championship outfit Blackpool, as well as working as lead professional development phase coach - combining that with his playing duties at Widnes.

Ventre obained his coaching badges whilst playing in the League of Ireland and after returning back to England to play for AFC Telford United and other non-league clubs, he was able to secure a UEFA A Licence, one of the most sought after qualifications.

He one day holds ambitions to secure the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest qualification a coach can obtain, as well as taking charge of a club as senior level within the next five years.