Lewis Gordon has been given a starting opportunity straight away by Joey Barton. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Joey Barton has today yielded many changes to his Bristol Rovers line-up that will take on Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium this afternoon.
Sam Finley has returned from injury whilst Ryan Loft has been given a start with a change in shape about the team which will likely see
He has also handed out a debut to left-back Lewis Gordon, who was announced an hour and 20 minutes out from kick-off, where he will have signed terms yesterday.
Clubs have to reach a deadline of mid-day before the day of the game to play their new signings in the upcoming match, which Rovers did with Gordon, who slots in the place of Trevor Clarke.
It is a fairly youthful bench with Alfie Kilgour, Harvey Saunders and Glenn Whelan their only senior options available today.
There is an absence however for summer signing Jordan Rossiter who made his Rovers debut against Forest Green Rovers last week, playing the entirety of the match in a 2-1 defeat at the Memorial Stadium.
The 25-year-old was the second arrival of the summer after joining from Fleetwood Town for an undisclosed fee. Rossiter had started alongside Zain Westbrooke who was told earlier this week to find a new club.
But for today’s clash with Burton Albion, Rossiter was not named in the match day squad and here is why.
In the match against FGR, he picked up a niggle that was aggravated as he kept himself on the pitch.
Barton explained: “He played on in the game with a niggle and it looks like he’s going to miss a couple of games now because he pushed himself into the back end of the game
“That’s where if we had the reinforcements you’d have been able to manage the load of players.”
Barton ended up making only two substitutions last week with Ryan Loft and Harvey Saunders brought on for Westbrooke and Trevor Clarke, despite having the option to make five changes.
Glenn Whelan, who was brought in as a player-coach was named amongst the replacements but there is a reluctance to use him this season.
Whelan has been away from the club for pre-season and has kept his fitness by playing in Sunday League matches, similar to when he arrived last summer.
There is a desire though for the 38-year-old to focus on his coaching duties rather than being a prominent playing member.
On the topic of Rossiter, Barton added: "He is not available for Saturday, but we’ll have to find a different solution to get a result and we’re going to play a type of football we haven’t played.
"We’re not going to be as expansive and as fluid at passing through the phases as what we’ve been in the back end of last year, but that’s the way we want to play.
“I don’t want to play a bit more direct, but we have to play that way to give ourselves the best opportunity.”