Forest Green promotion provides Bristol Rovers inspiration to follow says Joey Barton

Joey Barton was happy with how Bristol Rovers contended with Forest Green Rovers. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)Joey Barton was happy with how Bristol Rovers contended with Forest Green Rovers. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Joey Barton was happy with how Bristol Rovers contended with Forest Green Rovers. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The Gas remain in the automatic promotion mix but saw one of the spots taken away day after FGR were promoted

Joey Barton says seeing Forest Green Rovers’ promotion at the Memorial Stadium has given Bristol Rovers inspiration to get promoted.

The Gas, who are in the midst of a race for the third and final automatic spot, took in a goalless draw which saw the away side claim elevation to League One for the first time in their history.

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The Nailsworth side have many near misses including losing in the play-offs last year after four seasons of football in the fourth tier.

And having seen Rob Edwards’ side clinch the job in front of him today, the Rovers boss has likened their success to the job he is trying to do at the Mem.

“When we think about them as a football club, they’ve built through the lower leagues,” he said.

“We have to take some inspiration from that. We’re in the first cycle of our team. We’ve shown today we can go toe-to-toe with the best team in the division.”

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"We’ll look back on this as a learning opportunity for our group and our team, but again it is another clean sheet and another point picked up because we’re still not guaranteed to be in the play-offs yet, we have to go and take more points.”

Despite there being no goals, it wasn’t for the lack of trying with both sides having opportunities to take the lead.

There were strong performances from James Belshaw, who was named the man-of-the-match, whilst their goalkeeper Luke McGee also made a few saves to stop Rovers.

Forest Green made a slight change to their formation and opted to play with just Jamille Matt up front, as they set up to frustrate a Rovers side that tried to be positive.

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Barton made positive substitutions such as the pace and trickery of both Harvey Saunders and Luke Thomas, as well as another striker in Ryan Loft.

And it is that approach to the game, which leaves Barton content knowing he and his side made their best efforts to get something from the match.

“The top side in the division who have just been promoted have come to our place and adjusted what they normally do,” said Barton.

“They usually play two up top with Aitchison in behind Stevens before he was injured and Jamille Matt.

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“Mainly to stop us from playing. It allowed them to do a mid-block press which allowed them to run the clock down, take your time over everything and press from the mid block and they weren’t over committing.

“They didn’t open up the seams often down the side because they only needed a point and they know we needed three. It was almost like a second leg of a European tie, we had to upgrade and get more aggressive.

“I’ll sleep easier tonight because we went for it at every junction. We didn’t make a negative sub.

“We weren’t happy with a point and neither were our players. We kept pushing and pushing and today our players just couldn’t manage to find the key to unlock it or that magical match winning moment.”

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