Joey Barton’s sleepless night ahead of ruthless Bristol Rovers transfer plan

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Gas boss admitted ‘favourites’ could leave this summer as he shapes a squad in his image

Bristol Rovers fan favourites could be moved on this summer admits Joey Barton as he continues his plans to assemble a new squad for next season.

The Gas are now mathematically safe, and with there being just three games left of the League One campaign the Rovers manager will be looking at his squad for next season. A figure of 12 new signings have been mooted, and there could be a busy off-season for the 40-year-old.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Loanees Ellery Balcombe, Jarell Quansah, Lewis Gibson, Lamare Bogarde, and Josh Coburn will all return to their parent clubs come June. Notable members of Barton’s dressing room such as Paul Coutts, Josh Grant, Harry Anderson, and Grant Ward all have contracts expiring at the end of the season.

Players who are contracted to the club aren’t guaranteed to stay at the club either. Rovers risk losing several of their loan and out-of-contract players, but no player is immune from Barton’s ruthless stance to recruit players that are better than what they currently possess.

He said: “Naturally some loans are going to go back, some will be out of contract and are going to go because the level has gone up and we’re going to get new people into our building.

“That is exciting but also in the aim of trying to progress, if you’re not careful you can regress so we have to get that balance right and make sure that players who leave in the summer window are the correct players to leave, some of those lads might be fan favourites.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Not everyone’s going to come on the journey with me because it’s not realistic to think that everyone is going to improve at the level necessary to get better so some have got to go.

“That’s the nature of the business but I think if we’re all truly serious about improving the football club and one day being in a position to get championship football for our team, we’re going to have to make some tough calls and my job as the manager is to make those decisions.

He joked: “I think you all know me well enough by now, I’d take my family dog outside and shoot it if I felt we’d get better next season and if it was the right thing for the group.” (Barton does not have a dog).

After Tuesday’s defeat to Plymouth, Rovers now face promotion hopefuls Peterborough and Bolton in between a mid-week trip to Shrewsbury. A set of positive results could see the Gas finish as high as ninth. A high could helo build momentum going into next season but the team will need to pick themselves up after three consecutive defeats.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “Tuesday night after the game, I can’t sleep until four in the morning because I’m thinking about the team, where we are and the progress we’ve got to make, and how to build for next season, and your brain starts whirring.

“We’ve been poor in the last few weeks because lads have made poor decisions or have been a little bit naive but we’ve got some really good components here, we’ve got some really good people here.”

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.