Joey Barton nominates contender for Bristol Rovers Player of the Year after man-of-match display

Summer signing Sam Finley has barely put a foot wrong since signing for Bristol Rovers
Sam Finley was named man-of-the-match by the media and the sponsors. (Image: Paul Norton/Getty Images) Sam Finley was named man-of-the-match by the media and the sponsors. (Image: Paul Norton/Getty Images)
Sam Finley was named man-of-the-match by the media and the sponsors. (Image: Paul Norton/Getty Images)

Joey Barton says Sam Finley should be in consideration for the Player of the Year award after his performance in Bristol Rovers’ 2-1 win over Bradford City.

The 29-year-old scored the Gas’ equaliser with a thunderbolt of an effort from 25-yards, as well as putting in a composed shift, earning him the man-of-the-match award.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Finley, who followed Barton from their former club Fleetwood Town after joining on a free transfer in the summer, has been one of the most consistent performers in the team and has accumulated 30 appearances in League Two this season.

Against Bradford, he put in a commanding display, dictating how the game was played and made a telling impact to ensure the points would end up with his side.

“Since the opening gambits of the season, week-in-week out, he has been a consistent performer for us,” stated Barton, when asked about the performance of the player nominated man of the match by the sponsors.

“He gets the goal but he’s putting together a fantastic season. Everyone is talking about the Player of the Year coming up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Talking about Sam Finley, if you go through consistency and performance, then Sam has to be right up there.

“The challenge for Sam now is to finish the season strong.  If you’re fit, you’re a good side, you get stronger and stronger and you get push towards Mount Everest. The best climbers get stronger and stronger.”

Finley was delivering performances for Rovers even when his side weren’t at their best and in the position they are now.

The Liverpudlian-born midfielder has four goals and six assists this season, highlighting the influence he has had on games.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His influence on the game against Bradford was needed given the absence of talisman Antony Evans.

Finley last week started in a higher role with Evans out but today, he dropped further back and partnered with Paul Coutts.

As well as his goal, he was successful in all the tackles he attempted and was accurate in his play with 71% of his passes being accurate.

“He’s been a real epitome of the character of our team,” Barton added.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“You think when we were struggling for a bit of form. He was one of the standout performers. We were without Antony Evans, Nick Anderton and Josh Grant. I think Sam’s performance today was a real leadership performance.

“We’ve been speaking to Sam to use his energy to lead the team and to lead his teammates. I think the goal puts a big cherry on the top of his performance.

“I thought his performance in the second balls, in open play and transition, he was certainly pushing towards the top echelons of where it needs to be. The challenge for him is to keep doing that and leading in that way.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.