Joey Barton shares positive Bristol Rovers update as two players set for return against Mansfield Town

Joey Barton could call upon three player that he wasn’t able to field against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday

<p>Connor Taylor, James Belshaw and Josh Grant could all return on Saturday. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)</p>

Connor Taylor, James Belshaw and Josh Grant could all return on Saturday. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton says defender Connor Taylor has taken part in a full training session ahead of the match against Mansfield Town on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old was withdrawn at the last minute in the 2-1 defeat to Oldham Athletic on Tuesday after suffering an irregular heartbeat before kick-off.

Taylor, who has been an integral part of the back line, sat in the stands as a precautionary measure on Tuesday.

He could now make a return to action on Saturday after getting through today’s training session with no issues.

Connor Taylor has responded well after his issues on Tuesday. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

“He’s fine, Barton said. “It’s strange really. He had a bit of a chest infection from what I’ve gathered. It messed with his biorhythms and caused that little bit of an issue because of the Rochdale game.

“We had to take precautionary measures. The main thing is that he is fine. He has trained fully this morning. Hopefully it’s just a lingering chest infection that made him feel a little bit poorly.

“He just had an elevated heart rate, it jumped a little bit and it didn’t settle for a long period.

It is the second time this season that the Stoke City loanee had been withdrawn after being substituted in the win over Rochdale back in December.

Rovers’ team doctor Ian Ferguson said that Taylor was diagnosed with Supraventricular tachycardia - a heart condition that is not considered serious.

There is however a procedure that Taylor could go under to treat it, though that is a decision for the player himself to make.

“It turns out that there is a relatively straightforward procedure that he can get done which would probably put him out for two to four weeks,” revealed Barton.

"It’s not major, it’s something that at some point he’ll have to explore that.

“For us, when it flared up on Tuesday, you instantly think back to what it was. There’s a bit of a chest infection that has gone around the group and it’s made him a little unwell.

“He was good to go in the dressing room but we didn’t think it was the right thing to do. He’s trained fully today, feels fine and it’s good news for us that all seems well with him.”

One player who could make a welcomed return to action on Saturday against promotion chasing Mansfield Town is utility man Josh Grant.

Grant, who has mainly played as a wing-back this season despite defensive midfield being his natural position, missed out on Tuesday’s match because of patellar tendinitis.

As a result, he has received an injection to nurse the problem and that has given his hopes of a return a boost.

“Josh had a little injection just to settle a few things down,” said Barton.

“He feels great today and hopefully he’ll get through training tomorrow and that puts him in contention for the weekend.”

There is also a boost for goalkeeper James Belshaw who after receiving treatment for a knee injury, should be back in contention for Saturday.

Finnish goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola has deputised for the last two matches and now first-choice keeper for the majority of the season Belshaw will compete with him for that starting spot.

“He’s trained this morning, he’s feeling fine. Bar him getting through tomorrow, everything should be fine for him and he should come back into contention and back into the squad.

“It’s good news on that front.”

Saturday may come too soon for a Bristol Rovers debut for Jon Nolan. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

A player who Bristol Rovers fans will be keen to see is Jon Nolan, who joined on a free transfer after his release from Ipswich Town.

The 29-year-old has not kicked a ball in anger since January 2021 after a succession of injury problems.

Saturday’s game with Mansfield had been talked about as a potential date for his first involvement in the blue and white quarters, the wait though could be a little longer.

Rovers are carefully managing Nolan as they want the player for a prolonged period of the season rather than rushing him and aggravating an injury.

Barton said: “He’s getting closer. He’s at the back end of his return to play. Nolan is chomping at the bit because he’s been out for the last period of 12 to 18 months.

“He’s someone we want to get the best out of, so we have to ensure we get him in a position where we get him for two or three games.

“We’re going softly with that he’s coming along really nicely. The weekend’s game may be too soon for him but certainly the next couple of games and weeks he’ll be in contention.”

Nolan can play in a varying number of positions in midfield and his availability would certainly add to a department that the Gas are well stocked in.

Influential midfielder Antony Evans though was withdrawn from action in midweek as a precaution over a hamstring issue.

The 23-year-old has this season got six goals and six assists, the biggest goals contribution in the team.

There will be an anxious wait to see whether the injury he has suffered is serious or just a minor injury with news expected shortly.

“He’ll get a scan today at some point,” revealed the Rovers manager. “Once we get the findings back for that we’ll assess it and see where he is.

“We’ve taken him off as a precautionary measure and hopefully we get some good news back once the scan is in.”