‘Joey loved him!’ - The lowdown on Callum Camps - Bristol Rovers’ long-term target
Blackpool Gazette reporter Tom Sandells gives us the lowdown on Callum Camps, a long-term target for Bristol Rovers
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Bristol Rovers have yet to make a move in the summer transfer window and are keeping their cards close to their chest as they prepare for life back in League One.
The summer registration period isn’t open until June 10 but already some clubs across all three English Football League divisions have announced signings.
For the Gas, so far all they have done is publish their released list, explaining which players are leaving the Memorial Stadium this summer.
It has left Rovers with a squad of 19 players and not all of them are first-team players with some returning from loans in the non-league.
For other clubs, their retained lists have caught the attention of Gasheads with some current and former transfer targets becoming one available.
The most notable is Callum Camps, who wasn’t kept on by Joey Barton’s old club Fleetwood Town, as new boss Scott Brown stamps his authority down on the club.
Camps left Highbury Stadium after two seasons with the Lancashire club and could be a player of interest with Antony Evans’ future still not yet decided.
To get an idea of what Camps offers as a player and perhaps an idea of whether he could replace Evans, we spoke to the Blackpool Gazette’s Fleetwood Town reporter Tom Sandells.
What type of midfielder is Callum Camps and if he were to join Bristol Rovers, what could they expect?
Camps is a classic centre midfielder, in more of the old style. Whereas nowadays, the centre midfield role is one more focused about protecting the back four with designated attacking midfielders to get forwards, Camps is a traditional midfielder in that he gets box to box. He’s not afraid to get stuck in but also gets forward at will and has a knack for a goal.
Callum was released by Fleetwood before Scott Brown was appointed as manager, was it always the case for him to leave?
Camps had run his course somewhat at Fleetwood, he could have easily stayed and still been good enough at Highbury but it is more a case of Fleetwood needing a reset after last season’s disappointment.
Camps was an important player at the club and was paid as such, for Fleetwood it’s freeing up a bit of the wage budget as well as a slot to bring in an important player, with others around him on longer deals, or being the captain.
He was linked with a deadline day move in January but a move didn’t happen. What happened there was it mainly down to Jay Matete staying?
I don’t think he was really one to leave in January, Fleetwood needed all hands on deck and if there was one to see go on a free it would sooner be Camps than Matete given the fee they were able to get for the latter. Instead, they got what they could out of Camps, his contract ran down, they shook hands and went their separate ways - sometimes that just happens in football. It’s not a slight on either the player or the club.
If there are any weaknesses to him, what are they?
He can be a little hot and cold, that is probably his biggest weakness but that is why most players are in League One and not the Championship. He does know where the net is but he has his barren spells too. Last season, as with many a Fleetwood player, his season was disrupted with injury here and there so that may have played its part too.
Rovers released defensive midfielder Glenn Whelan and risk losing attacking midfielder (number ten midfielder) Antony Evans, is he a centre midfielder or an attacking midfielder?
He’s in more of the Evans role than Whelan. You may have seen Coutts and Whelan deployed alongside each other, Camps would instead be more advanced. At Fleetwood, Barton went between a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3, Camps would always be the midfielder that supported the forwards.
Camps is certainly more of the attacking role than the Whelan role, Whelan and Coutts used to sort of sit whilst Camps went forward. He generally starts as more of an orthodox CM but likes to get forward so can end up more of an AM and can probably start there. An eye for a goal, too, at times which helps.
He’ll of course have played under Joey Barton during their time together, was he an important player for him?
Joey loved Camps, that showed in the start that Camps had at the club. He scored 10 times in his first 18 games - including two absolute stunners against Bristol Rovers (sorry!) - and if that is the player Barton can bring back out, he’s a real asset. He was always important under Barton despite those goals drying up towards the second half of the season, but double figures goals from midfield is exactly what you’d hope for.