Joey Barton explains Josh Grant’s absence from Bristol Rovers squad

The 23-year-old wasn’t named in the match day squad for the away trip to Barnsley, but Barton has revealed why he was absent

Joey Barton says Bristol Rovers are carefully managing Josh Grant after his absence in the 3-0 defeat to Barnsley.

Grant appeared in the win over Oxford United on Saturday, coming off of the bench but was nowhere to be seen a few days later at Oakwell.

The 23-year-old has only been involved with the squad this season in the last week after dealing with an injury issue that sidelined him for most of pre-season.

Utility man Grant encountered some issues last season which kept him sidelined during their end-of-season run in.

As the former Chelsea youngster builds up his fitness, it is unlikely that he will be available for the two-game week schedule that will appear for the early part of the campaign.

“We just have to manage his load,” Barton responded when asked by BBC Radio Bristol as to Grant’s first-team status.

“He had some minutes on Saturday but Saturday-Tuesday is going to be difficult for him. Hopefully he will join back in with the lads on Thursday, he has got a load management programme. If he comes with the guys today he can’t do the work that he needs.

“We are in a patient game with Josh and we need to make him available for lots of games but to do that we have to tread a little softly with him.”

Grant finds himself in a similar position to other first-team players who aren’t operating at 100%.

Jordan Rossiter along with Grant was a surprise inclusion on Saturday, returning ahead of schedule from an injury sustained against Forest Green Rovers.

Rossiter was given a forty-five minute cameo tonight, as did recent signing Lewis Gibson, who has joined on a season-long loan from Everton.

Barton added: “It is the same with other lads, Gibbo with those forty-five minutes will be good for him, Jordy too and Couttsy gets forty-five as well.”