On-loan Everton defender signed for Bristol Rovers with consideration for permanent move

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Lewis Gibson has missed the last month through injury but could be considered for a permanent move

Lewis Gibson was signed for Bristol Rovers with a long-term plan in mind admitted first-team manager Joey Barton.

The 22-year-old reunited with Barton at the Memorial Stadium, having previously worked together at Fleetwood Town.

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Gibson, a left-sided centre-back, which is what the Gas boss was on the search for after Connor Taylor’s return to Stoke City, was a much-sought after player.

He signed a new deal before being loaned out with his current contract due to expire in the summer of 2023.

There is a hope that should the Toffees decide not to extend his contract, he could be a player that signs permanently.

“We think we’ve got a really good emerging side here, it’s going to take a little time on the pitch to get that stabilised,” Barton admitted in his pre-match press conference.

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“I think this year we are a lot lower in loans. We’ve managed to convert a couple of lads into permanents.

“For us, even taking Lewis Gibson, it’s one eye on the future. He’s someone we have taken out on loan. We think ‘okay, if we can do a really good job with him’ and he doesn’t manage to make the grade at Everton. That we can, I’ve worked with him at Fleetwood that he can have joy with us again and commit to a longer-term position with us.”

He has so far made four appearances since arriving from the Merseyside club but has missed the last five matches through an injury that was worse than initially thought.

Gibson kept a clean sheet on his first appearance against Oxford United, but then suffered defeats to Barnsley and Portsmouth, as well as playing the entirety of the match against Shrewsbury.

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He has not played since late-August and is expected to just miss out for the trip to Devon on Saturday, but isn’t too far away from making a return to first-team action.

“I think he’s a really good player, the problem with that is we are trying him out a bit with his injury record,” Barton said.

“He’s new to Bristol and trying us out. It’s having that patience in the midst of building a new-team and a new group together. Short-term pain for medium and long-term pain is my take.”

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