Former Aston Villa, Sheff Wed, Hearts and Stoke man set to retire

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Joey Barton predicts that one Bristol Rovers player could retire at the Mem today

Bristol Rovers versus Bolton Wanderers could be Glenn Whelan’s last match as a professional footballer, admits Joey Barton.

Whelan is amongst the substitutes for the Gas in their final match of the season against the Trotters. The 39-year-old is part of the squad for the first time in nine matches and any appearance could make him one of the oldest players to play for the club.

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He is out-of-contract in the summer with his one-year player-contract deal expiring. Whelan was released last year but rejoined in late July, and has been used on a sparingly basis.

Whelan has had a playing career that has spanned 20 years, and has seen him represent his native Ireland 91 times. He is most remembered for his time at Stoke City, but also won promotion with Bristol Rovers, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.

Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol, he said: “We’ve got the old warhorse on the bench with Whelo. It would be nice to get him a few minutes today, I think he would become the oldest Bristol Rovers player in history.

“I thought Scunny was going to be his last game. 7-0 he was perfect in the game. I thought he might have declared on that but such is the competitor Whelo, he’s kept his innings going.

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“I think today is the day he finally hangs them up and hopefully we can get him on the pitch, and he goes out with a great rapport from our fans.

“What a wonderful career he has had and no better place to finish it in front of a sold out Mem in front of an in-form team.”

Whelan made the bench for Rovers, but two players missed out to play in the final match of the season. James Gibbons and Ryan Loft had both been left out of the side. Both played in the defeat against Shrewsbury Town in midweek and were deemed not fit enough to play against Bolton.

“They’re both injured,” revealed Barton.

“Ryan Loft felt his calf on Friday. It’s a bit of a setback for him and it’s disappointing for him. He missed the game with that.

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“With James Gibbons, it’s his achilles. He’s okay walking around in flip flops and barefoot but as soon as he puts his boots on his achilles pinches.

“We can’t risk him and if we do one of them it’s a long period.”

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