How Bristol Rovers have done their transfer business on Deadline Day over the years - few hits and misses

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Bristol Rovers have had a mixed bag when it comes to past deadline days as the the hours count down on the current transfer window

The January transfer window, although seen as secondary to the summer, is highly useful for teams as they look to iron out some weaknesses for the second half of the season.

Not as busy as the summer window, the month of January is highly crucial.

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Deadline Day in the winter transfer window is usually on the last day of January when the majority of the deals get done as clubs look to leave minimal time for clubs they are buying from to find a replacement.

Bristol Rovers normally like to get their business done early in the window as proved this season with the early acquisition of Ryan Loft from Scunthorpe, as well as the loan signing of James Connolly from Cardiff City.

Where best to start off with than one of the most dramatic days ever seen. It’s five years to the day that a shock wave was sent through the city as Bristol City activated the £300,000 release clause of Matty Taylor, taking him from the Memorial Stadium to Ashton Gate.

It was a relatively quiet window for both sides but then murmurings began a few days before and once it was concluded, Taylor was unveiled to the City fans during their match with Sheffield Wednesday.

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As it was so late, Rovers were unable to replace him in that window and ended up signing left-back Bob Harris on a free transfer a few days later. Taylor’s move to City stopped any momentum of Rovers’ play-off push and they had to accept a 10th placed finish.

It’s five years to the day that Matt Taylor went from Rovers to City. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)It’s five years to the day that Matt Taylor went from Rovers to City. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
It’s five years to the day that Matt Taylor went from Rovers to City. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images) | Getty Images

A year later, Rovers brought in two players at the end of the 2018 window as Graham Coughlan put his stamp down on the squad after the departure of Matty Taylor.

They looked to preserve their status in League One and brought in both Kyle Dempsey from Portsmouth and Tony Craig from Millwall, both on free transfers.

Craig became an important figure to the side, making 120 appearances but was released at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, in doing so he joined league rivals Crawley Town.

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The rest of the season was fairly satisfactory for Bennett as he played 17 times and scored three goals for his new club but was later allowed to join Swindon Town. He joined Grimsby Town on loan last season before his contract expired last summer, joining Grimsby Town.

In 2019, the Gas followed the trend of a double signing came as they signed Jonson Clarke-Harris and Abu Ogogo from Coventry City.

Whilst fans were wary because of his inconsistent form, Clarke-Harris proved to be a shrewd addition and is arguably the best signing Rovers made in the last five years. He made an immediate impact and his first six months, he finished with 11 goals in 17 games which gave the fans a lot to be excited about with a full season of Clarke-Harris. He then followed that up with 13 goals in 26 games in the truncated 2019/20 season.

Ogogo had a similar impact and built up a positive relationship with fans for his tireless displays but following the arrival of Ben Garner, his days were numbered.

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It’s two years since Rovers made a Deadline Day signing in the winter transfer window and that was the addition of current first-team player Cian Harries from Swansea City.

The defender made the short journey over the bridge to sign for Rovers on the last day of the 2020 window and has been a consistent performer, going on to make 55 appearances for the club. Harries is still at the club now but has has been dislodged from the team by the arrival of Connolly.

And then that brings us to last year where there were no winter signings, despite Rovers battling the threat of relegation. Eleven days after the window shut, we saw the departure of manager Paul Tisdale who had only taken over in December.

He was replaced two weeks later by Joey Barton, but the current boss was unable to add to his squad and had to make do for the rest of the season.

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