Joey Barton predicts Wrexham and Stockport transfer problem for Bristol Rovers

Wrexham are the talk of the footballing world - but Joey Barton thinks they will cause Bristol Rovers problems this summer.
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Joey Barton believes Bristol Rovers transfer plans could be affected after Wrexham’s promotion to the Football League.

The Dragons, owned by by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Rob McElhenney, have rejuvented the city of Wrexham with investment in to their playing and coaching staff as well as numerous charity donations. Both were in attendance, alongside AntMan star Paul Rudd, as they watched their side win promotion to League Two after a 15-year absence.

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Wrexham beat Boreham Wood 3-1 to win the National League with 2020/21 League Two Golden Boot winner Paul Mullin scoring a brace. The Welsh side have been able to attract numerous players to drop down from the Championship, League One and League Two in recent seasons with Ben Tozer leaving Cheltenham, Andy Cannon moving from Hull City and Callum McFadzean from Crewe just a few to name.

Paul Parkinson’s side - who achieved an impressive 110 points with one more game to go could attract even more players now they are back in the EFL given the resources they could have at their disposal following the success of the ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ documentary on Disney+ as well as other commercial revenue. Wales EURO 2016 hero Hal Robson-Kanu has offered to come out of the retirement to play whilst Ben Foster is undecided about continuing after returning to the Racecourse Ground to help them get over the line.

Wrexham are the envy of many, and Rovers - who have relied on the loan market in recent seasons - could now face competition from their targets from Wrexham in the division below according to their manager. The Gas may also have to contend with the likes of Stockport County and Bradford City, who are vying for promotion and have bigger grounds than them.

He said last Thursday: “The problem we’ve got next year is I think Wrexham are going to distort the market place.

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“Stockport County will come up and be a big hitter if they can get into League One, and I’m not sure about Leyton Orient, they tend to be middle to bottom end budget wise of League One.

“If Bradford get in, they’ve got a big footprint and can make a dent. Salford can distort the market place because that is what they have done in every division.”

Rovers’ place in League One is secure after securing the 52-points target they set out for themselves at the start of the season. Barton, his recruitment staff and the board have several key decisions to make however if they want to progress in the next campaign.

Several players are out-of-contract at the end of the season, and whilst offers have been made, they could face competition to keep hold of their stars. Harry Anderson is a reported target for Wrexham and Portsmouth, with other clubs keeping tabs.

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Former Manchester City midfielder Barton wants to mount a promotion push but is up against some fallen Premier League clubs as well as teams with a bigger pool of resources.Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Bolton, Derby, Pompey and Charlton have all dined at the top table but only three teams can get promoted with Plymouth Argyle surprisingly leading the way. The 40-year-old would like to achieve Championship football at Rovers, with the north area of the city starved of second tier status for 30 years.

He said: “It’s a tricky division, they’ve got a lot of people stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“You’ve got to decide if you want to have a right go at it and put in probably £4 or £5m to get out of the division lower end of the scale or you’re competing against £10-15m Derby and Ipswich this season.

“I’m a brilliant coach but I am not a magician. As much as you think you’re good at your job, you need players and ultimately top athletes, top prospects cost you money.”

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