Midfielder reunites with former Bristol Rovers manager at Stevenage as Gas permit loan

Rovers allow fringe midfielder to leave the club as he becomes fourth Gas player to make move to Stevenage

Bristol Rovers have allowed midfielder Zain Westbrooke to join Stevenage on a loan that will keep him there until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old has made just one start under Joey Barton this season and has been limited to just nine outings, failing to make an impact.

He was a shock inclusion in Rovers’ starting eleven when they lined up against Peterborough United in the FA Cup last week, but now he has been given a chance to reinvent himself under a familiar manager.

Westbrooke reunites with Paul Tisdale, who was in charge of 19 Rovers matches last season before being sacked in February, where he was later replaced by Joey Barton.

He joins what is already a strong contingent of former Gas personnel at Broadhall Way, becoming the fourth player to join their ranks.

Already this month, they had signed midfielder Ed Upson, who spent three seasons with Rovers before joining Newport County after relegation to League One.

Striker James Daly who was allowed to leave at the same time as Ed Upson was already at the club after his contract wasn’t extended by Rovers in the summer as they saw a high turnover of players.

Club legend Chris Lines meanwhile was at Northampton before making the move to the Hertfordshire club last summer.

Asked on Friday before the match against Hartlepool United what be on the agenda for Bristol Rovers’ in the remainder of the January transfer window, Barton was keen to move players off the books.

Players have returned from long-term injuries and suspensions which has made for a bigger squad to choose from which has given the opportunity to the likes of Westbrooke to join a new club.

“Training is a means to an end, but a matchday is where players want to be and the last thing you want to have is people sitting at home on a Saturday when they’re being paid money to play. You want them going out and playing.

“For me at this moment in time, the focus will be on trimming the edge of the squad and making sure everybody here is absolutely crystal clear on what we’re doing and how we’re going to do it.

Defender Jamie Egan has become one of those players who has joined a non-league team. The 18-year-old has joined Vanarama National League North team Hereford on a one months loan.

Egan has yet to make a senior appearance for the team since arriving from Cabo Academy but this temporary move to Edgar Street could help prepare him for men’s football.