Joey Barton outlines Bristol Rovers stance on free agent Daniel Ayala after defender’s Blackburn Rovers exit

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton provides update on free agent Daniel Ayala.
 (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Joey Barton has clarified the situation on Daniel Ayala after the former Liverpool defender was spotted training with Bristol Rovers.

The Gas have been struggling for numbers in defence in recent weeks since injuries to Tristan Crama, James Wilson, George Friend, and more recently, Luca Hoole - who picked up a knock whilst on international duty.

Ayala left Blackburn Rovers in the summer of last campaign, after spending three seasons at the Championship outfit. He has been a free agent since his contract expired and it has recently been reported that the 32-year-old has been training with Barton’s side.

“He came in for a couple of days, just to get a baseline on him,” said Barton, who has already used the free agent market to sign Chris Martin.

“He’s a good lad, a good size, certainly how quick we are picking up knocks and niggles at the minute, it may be something we explore.”

The Spaniard who played five times for Liverpool has a wealth of experience playing at the top level and could be a player that Barton would like to have in his squad. He has made 356 career appearances to date and has boasted 276 games in the Championship, as well as appearing 26 times in the Premier League.

The Gas have some young talent in their backline with the likes of the injured Crama as well as Connor Taylor and Ayala could certainly help balance that blend of youth with some experience to help the club climb the League One table.

In the absence of Crama and Wilson, utility man Josh Grant has been deployed as a centre-back, however, any more injuries or setbacks could force Rovers to dip their toes into the free-agent market once more.

Barton added: “We’ll keep monitoring that, he’s obviously missed a bit of game time and a bit of pre-season time, with a disrupted kind of spell in the off-season.

“If it works for both parties I think it could be something we visit, but again that will depend on how quickly we get players returning to play and whether we can kind of strike a deal in the midst of that.”