Joey Barton reveals talks with former Celtic captain over Bristol Rovers job

An opposition manager tonight - Gary Caldwell very nearly became a Gashead
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Joey Barton has revealed that Exeter City manager Gary Caldwell was once interviewed to be the Bristol Rovers assistant boss. Caldwell will be in the opposite dugout at the Memorial Stadium, but very well could have been part of Barton’s backroom staff.

Barton’s previous number two, Clint Hill left the club in August of last year, in a position now part-filled by Andy Mangan. Several changes have been made to Barton’s backroom staff, with the additions of Danny Ventre and Glenn Whelan.

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Caldwell is of a similar age to Barton at 40-years-old and had already held managerial roles at Wigan Athletic, Chesterfield and Partick Thistle. After missing out on the job to Kevin Bond, he took up roles at Barton’s two former clubs Newcastle United and Manchester City. Hill meanwhile now holds the same position at League Two outfit Stockport County.

Caldwell was appointed Exeter boss in October after Matt Taylor left the Grecians for Rotherham. The 40-year-old brings his new side to the Memorial Stadium, where he could have ended up as Joey Barton’s assistant.

“When Clint left I actually interviewed Gary to be assistant manager, he’s a good guy,” he revealed about the former Celtic captain.

“He wants to get his stamp on their group and I think it’ll be a really tough game at our place you know, two really good footballing sides, both newly promoted going at it so I’m looking forward to it.”

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Matt Taylor took his Exeter side up alongside the Gas last season, with the sides finishing second and third respectively in League Two.

The now Rotherham boss continued his good work into their first League One campaign in over ten years, prompting Championship side Rotherham to acquire his services.

“They were very good at what they did under Matt Taylor, a very well drilled team,” Barton admitted. “I say they were unlucky to not be champions last year and I think the way they’ve started this campaign, they are a real problem.”

Rovers go into the game as one of the form sides of the division, taking ten points from their last five games and their boxing day defeat to Wycombe being their first in six.

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The good run as of late has pulled the Gas from the relegation zone, with them now in tenth position, four points off the play-off positions and three points above Exeter ahead of Thursday night’s clash.

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