Joey Barton reveals stance on free agent market to fill Bristol Rovers squad gaps

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Bristol Rovers can still make signings after the January transfer window shut - but can we expect any more additions?

Joey Barton has admitted that he is unlikely to add to his Bristol Rovers squad through the free-agent market after the January transfer window shut.

The Gas saw five players arrive and five depart over the 31-day registration period, including two new deadline day signings in the form of Calum Macdonald from Stockport County, and Lamar Bogarde from Aston Villa. Barton did admit before the deadline he wanted up to five new faces and had considered moving players on, but instead, that was the only business that they did.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A plus point for Rovers was that despite Middlesbrough holding a recall option on Josh Coburn, and parting ways with forwards Duncan Watmore, Matthew Hoppe, and Calum Kavanagh during the window. Aaron Collins remained at the Memorial Stadium, despite several clubs having an undisclosed interest in the 25-year-old.

Despite the window slamming shut on teams adding players for fees and loans, clubs can still make signings after the window, as long as there is space in their squads, which are due to be submitted to the EFL shortly. Social media talk earlier this week claimed that Tyler Blackett, a free agent was training with Rovers, but that was dismissed by Andy Mangan, and despite his availability, Barton is unlikely to add to his squad with the signing of Blackett, or any other players that are currently without a team.

"No,” responded Barton when asked about whether he would be exploring the free agent market to add to his squad for the remainder of the season.

“I haven’t seen who is out there but I can’t see it. I’m happy with what we have got. We’ve got what we’ve got. I was quite vocal with what we wanted. It didn’t materialise that way and I’m happy the window is closed because we have still got Collins and Coburn in the building."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rovers suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions, and as a result have dropped out of the top half in League One, with Charlton Athletic beating Exeter City. They are halfway between the relegation zone but also a playoff spot, with ensuring survival as the first task before challenging for promotion if they can rediscover their form.

A key area that Rovers needed to recruit in January was at centre-back, especially after the sale of Alfie Kilgour to Mansfield Town, as well as Bobby Thomas’ recall to Burnley. Barton after undergoing a scouting mission on Merseyside came back with the addition of England Under-20 centre-back Jarell Quansah from Liverpool. His arrival along with Bogarde from Villa, is a sign that Rovers are continuing to utilise the loan market through young players.

He said: “We’ve had a few good additions, you’ve seen all today what Jarell is, he is a real quality player. I think young Lamare is a real top player. He’s only a baby but I think he’s going to be a really good player and is well thought of at Villa."

"To add them to our group is key, what you get out of young players, who knows? I think the cameo we’ve seen from them I think we know they’ve got quality. Ellery and Grant are a little bit older and have come into that and we’ve flipped a few lads out. It was their bus stop and they wanted to go and play and freshen the group up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"In the midst of that now it’ll settle down, February the window is closed and everyone knows where they are, we know the group that we have got. We just have to get to work and make sure we get three points on the board next time out which is a tough away game at Lincoln."

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.