Joey Barton issues Bristol Rovers contract talks update

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Bristol Rovers have five loan players returning and several players out of contract.

Joey Barton reveals that discussions are ongoing with those out of contract at Bristol Rovers this summer.

The Gas are required to publish their retained list at the end of month with several players contracts up. Rovers season concluded on Sunday with a defeat to Bolton Wanderers, but some are still around the city with their futures discussed.

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Players attended the end of season awards on Monday in what was a goodbye for some. Loan deals have expired and players are set to their parent clubs though none of them will be eligible to play in their remaining games.

Providing an update on the situation, Joey Barton revealed to BBC Radio Bristol: “We had a chat and we were going to bring them in on the Tuesday but because there was the awards do they’d prefer a lie in.

“I tried to get round as many as I could for just two, three, four five minutes in a quiet casual setting. I just think it is easier then.

“I had a good chat with a few of them. With the loan lads it’s quite self explanatory, they will go back to their parent clubs and we’ll be in constant contact and dialogue.

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“What was important for me was to get round some of the parents and they trust you with their special child. They’ve been developing these young people forever and young professionals.

“You’ve got to build your relationships with all of them and I think the last couple of days and the season was about getting everybody to know where they stand.”

Glenn Whelan and Paul Coutts’ contracts come to an end but both are expected to take their place on the coaching staff. Whelan had already ben part of Barton’s team and Coutts is set to join him, and could retire.

Talks have stagnated with Harry Anderson though the door is still open to the former Lincoln City winger. He has been invited back in for pre-season but that opens up an opportunity for other clubs to come in for him.

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Josh Grant is another out of contract, and after the club paid for his surgery, there is a hope he will sign new terms. Grant played just 10 minutes last year but is highly thought of by the manager.

January signing Grant Ward is another who has been offered new terms. He joined on a short-term contract which was right at the time given his lack of football because of injury problems but has been a brilliant addition to the squad. Ward played in all of the games Rovers played since joining.

Alex Rodman’s departure is all but confirmed but Anssi Jaakola’s probably departure is a little more complex. He has been working as a coach over the last season and could stay around in that capacity but not as a player.

Deadline day signing Calum Macdonald is another where there are question marks. He wasn’t a regular when he made the move from Stockport County but provided competition to Lewis Gordon. MacDonald did get some opportunities but there’s a feeling he could be moved on.

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He added: “I’ve still got a few conversations to have with lads. I’ll take a few for a round of golf if I have a moment and have a chat with them.

“On a whole the lads who are under contract know where they are, they’ll be back in pre-season, ready to scrap it out and hopefully we’ll have four or five in with them.”

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