Mansfield Town blew Bristol Rovers ‘out of the water’ for transfer targets says Gas boss Joey Barton

The Stags were in the same market at Bristol Rovers for players but ultimately came out on top in securing their signatures

<p>Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town were able to beat Bristol Rovers to a number of players. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)</p>

Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town were able to beat Bristol Rovers to a number of players. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Joey Barton says Saturday’s opponents Mansfield Town ‘blew’ Bristol Rovers out of the water on a number of transfer targets.

The two sides will face one another at the Memorial Stadium this coming weekend though there has already been a battle off the pitch.

It has been said by the Gas boss that the Stags pipped them to a number of transfer targets, offering players a higher financial package.

They were able to persuade Matty Longstaff, who has 20 senior appearances for Newcastle United, to join them for the second part of the season.

“They are one of the few sides that pay a lot more money than us,” said Barton.

“They blew us out of the water for a few players and we’re one of the big hitters in the division but so are Mansfield.

“They have built a good side, the fact that they taken young Matty Longstaff from Newcastle shows you the quality that they are able to recruit.”

As well as the impressive loan signing of Longstaff, they also signed Burton Albion duo Lucas Akins and Kieran Wallace, as well as experienced Scottish winger Jamie Murphy in the January transfer window.

In the summer they signed Oliver Hawkins, Elliott Hewitt, Danny Johnson, Stephen Quinn, Ryan Burke, Rhys Oates, Nathan Bishop, George Shelvey, William Forrester and Richard Nartey.

They also have former Gas midfielder John-Joe O’Toole who spent one-and-a–half seasons, in their ranks after signing him as a free agent in October following his release from the Brewers.

Their recruitment strategy has so far been a success as they occupy fifth place in the division and are just three points off of Northampton, who occupy the third automatic spot.

“Cloughy as he does has built another good side. A side capable of getting out of the division.”

The Nottinghamshire side are one of the most in-form teams across the four divisions of the English Football League right now.

They have picked up 28 points out of a possible 30 in their last ten matches with a draw to Harrogate the only gloss on what has been an almost perfect run of form.

The trusted formation that has served them so well in this run of form is a 4-4-2 diammond and Barton doesn’t expect his opposition manager to change shape to accomodate the threat of Bristol Rovers.

“A four diamond two has been really effective for them,” he said.

“It’s quite set in stone what they will do. They won’t change for us and they probably wouldn’t change for Man City probably, they’re on such a good run of form.”

“Mansfield are a good side, you don’t need me to tell you that. The form table and the league table are a test to that.

“I felt when we went there we are unlucky not to get a point and I felt if we had got a point there it would be a tricky place to go

“I think it’s a good tie and a great tie for the division. It’s a chance for us to get some momentum, an opportunity to put Tuesday right and an opportunity in front of another good crowd at the Mem.”