Joey Barton reveals Bristol Rovers owner talks as he discusses his future amid pressure talk

The 40-year-old isn’t feeling the pressure despite a run of bad results
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Joey Barton joked about offering his resignation to Bristol Rovers owner Wael al-Qadi following a chat after the 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley.

Joe Pritchard’s 54th minute strike meant that Barton oversaw a third consecutive defeat, which kept the Gas in 21st in the League One standings.

Rovers have suffered five defeats in eight league matches and have not won a match since mid-August against Oxford United.

The 40-year-old has had to contend with injury crises throughout the season with more than a handful of players sidelined at the moment.

It has left him unable to field a full-strength side in the current campaign, which has had an effect on the performances of the team.

In his post-match debrief with the owner, he spoke about the similarities to last yeaar, and spoke of his offer of resignation last September, which planted his side 22nd in the League Two standings.

“It was this time last year that I offered my resignation. I was laughing with Wael in there about maybe I need to offer it again because of the turn,” he joked after clicking his fingers.

“Look, if I don’t feel like I can move the group on, I will be the first to throw my hand in and say maybe it’s better that someone else takes the rein on.

“I know what I have at my disposal here, I know what we have our in group, when we have those players firing on all cylinders, we’ll have a really good League One team.”

The light at the end of the tunnel is coming in regards to players returning from injuries, with players now back on the grass and working towards their recovery.

Deadline day signing Josh Coburn has yet to train with Rovers after continuing his rehabilitation at parent club Middlesbrough, but could soon return in the next few weeks.

On-loan Everton defender Lewis Gibson has been out for longer than expected but could make a return in the coming week, which would add another body into the central defence area.

Utility man Josh Grant is also back training after a frustrating time through a handful of niggling injuries, which has limited him to just one substitute appearance this season.

Barton was able to turn the club around before when all things looked bleak. He had overseen a relegation and was allowed the resources to recruit a completely different team.

A slow start saw them placed in 17th at the turn of the New Year before they went on a tremendous unbeaten run to get promoted on the final day of the campaign.

Despite a consecutive run of defeats and a winless streak that has almost stretched to two months, Barton does not feel under pressure, and is instead happy with the backing received by the owner and supporters.

“For me, it’s going to turn,” Barton said.

“It’s only a matter of time, but I’m not stupid. If we lose the next eight games and we’re sitting not winning a game in 15 or 16 in all competitions, then of course pressure would naturally come on the job and I’m cool with that.

“I can walk out of this club tomorrow with my head held high, knowing we’ve made a positive impact on the club in the time I’ve been here. At some point in the future, whether that’s 15 years or 15 minutes, that will happen where a manager will leave and somebody new will come in.

“But I don’t feel under pressure, weirdly, because myself and the owner and the fanbase and the players, we’ve been through this cycle before and I know I’ve got absolute support.”

Boos could be heard at the full-time whistle, with some at Stanley goalkeeper Lukas Jensen for his celebrations in front of the Thatcher’s End, whilst others at the result.

Chants such as ‘This is embarrassing’ and ‘You’re nothing special, we lose every week’ could be heard during the match as they trailed after conceding before the hour mark.

A nervous atmosphere was felt at the Mem which transferred on to the pitch as the home side mustered up only four shots on target with Jensen untroubled for a majority of the match.

With Barton holding the most senior role of the playing aspect of things, he accepts full responsibility that the part and parcel of being a manager is that frustrations will be held at the feet of him.

“I get the fans are frustrated,” he admitted. “I actually thought they were shouting at the referee more than me, but I imagine there will be one or two voices trained on the manager because the tallest trees catch the most wind.

“I have to accept when they are carrying me on their shoulders around the pitch when we’ve won promotion that sometimes they throw sausage rolls at you when you don’t win games of footy. It’s tough being a manager and you have to accept the responsibility for the team when it’s going well and also when it’s not going well.”