Joey Barton drops Bristol Rovers team selection hint ahead of Swindon Town clash

The Gas manager has changed his stance from a few weeks ago
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Joey Barton has hinted that Bristol Rovers will want to approach the Swindon Town match with the intention of winning the EFL Trophy tie.

The Gas stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition with the team in second place in the group. A victory against the Robins would ensure their passage to the next round whilst group leaders Plymouth Argyle face the Eagles with a draw there and a win on penalties for the Premier League side the preferred outcome.

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Last season, Rovers fell out at this stage of the competition in a group with Exeter City, Chelsea and Cheltenham. They had a firm focus on getting out of League Two and ultimately that proved the right decision as they won promotion.

No injuries were reported from their 4-1 thrashing at Whaddon Road on Saturday afternoon in a weekend of positives. It is now up to Barton to name a squad that he sees fit to win the tie but also minimize the risk of any injuries for the league. A few young players like first-year professional Jerry Lawrence could be named in the squad.

“I don’t know yet I am not sure,” he said when asked what team we can expect to see come 6.00 pm on Tuesday night. “We’ll assess the bodies in the morning.

“We will have a look at it. There are obviously lads who will want to have minutes and want games. We’ll try and win every game, it won’t be a team of young kids albeit we might put one or two in there to protect the first-team.”

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After the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace a fortnight ago, Barton was incensed by how the opposition conducted themselves. Alfie Kilgour ended up going off with a head injury whilst John Marquis has been absent ever since playing in the match.

On-loan Fulham winger Sylvester Jasper took a few knocks having skilfully taken on his opponents where he drew fouls. It prompted a reaction from Barton who threatened to play the youngsters in their final group stage match.

The 40-year-old has since taken a different stance and will hope to use the match against League Two opposition as an opportunity for fringe players to build up vital match-time. Rovers used all five of their substitutions against Cheltenham with Josh Coburn, Luca Hoole, Luke McCormick, Trevor Clarke and Sylvester Jasper coming on. Anssi Jakkola and Jasper were the only used substitutions and they could be given match time.

He said: “We will be playing a strong team as necessary to get lads minutes and through if we can. The priority will be the league campaign and Plymouth on Saturday and getting in front of our fans at the Mem.”

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