The Bristol Rovers youngsters who could alter any further January transfer plans - including in-form striker

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Bristol Rovers are halfway through the January transfer window and their business already looks done.

Ryan Loft from Scunthorpe United and James Connolly, on loan from Cardiff City are the two incomings.

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Things can change but unless a key player leaves now or a player that becomes available that is too hard to turn down appears then maybe it’s best not to expect more business.

With that, perhaps now is the time to look at the personnel already at the club and whether they can make the difference which could save the Gas time and money.

The squad was still affected by a number of COVID cases with some big first-team players out in what was a mix-and-match line-up.

As a result, a youthful bench was named and that is where Rovers should now invest their resources after the key targets were secured.

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Joey Barton has recruited two young defenders in Connor Taylor from Stoke and Connolly, but some fans would like to see the club’s own youngsters given a chance in the side.

Below we look at some players who could be of some use and considered for a first-team berth.

Joey Barton has given Luca Hoole a few appearances in the cup competitions. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)Joey Barton has given Luca Hoole a few appearances in the cup competitions. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Joey Barton has given Luca Hoole a few appearances in the cup competitions. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Luca Hoole

The strongest name in this list and most likely to break through has to be Hoole who has started the last two matches for the Gas and seems to be in the pecking order.

Featuring first in a back three with Connor Taylor and Nick Anderton, the Wales Under-19 international looked assured in the 4-2 win over Rochdale.

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Hoole then played against a side that are two divisions above on Saturday and did a capable job in dealing with their attacking threat.

With nine appearances made this season includng five league starts, you could describe him as a fringe first-team player.

Defence is an area in which the team are struggling on so whilst that is the case, Hoole is taking the opportunity presented to him and long may it continue after biding his time.

Ryan Jones

Signed from Weston-super-Mare after featuring for their senior team, Jones can play as both a left-back as well as a left-sided midfielder. Modern football these days sees wingers have to do more defensive work so it is only right that Jones tries to adapt his game to make his way into the first-team.

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Substituted on for Trevor Clarke in the second-half, Jones could be waiting in the wings for an opportunity should any injuries happen. He’s probably second in line behind Hoole for a place in the side.

Tyron Mbuenimo

With two EFL Trophy matches under his belt, youngster Mbuenimo is a player that can provide depth in the right-back role, a position in which some players have had to deputise in like Josh Grant.

Despite a game in which they were 5-0 down at half-time which later turned into a 3-3 defeat to Exeter City, the 18-year-old was one of the positives from the match and showed great tenacity when making hi tackles.

After the Under-23’s side was nixed, it’s been difficult for younger players to showcase their worth with cup competitions and excelling in training is the only pathway at the minute.

Ollie Hulbert

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Even though his loan to Lee Mansell’s Gloucester City has been extended until the end of the season, they are not bound by a transfer window, so he could be recalled should Rovers wish to.

Hulbert and academy teammate Lucas Tomlinson will remain at New Meadow Park, but there can always be a change of heart but right now he looks settled and it may be better to allow him to remain where he’s finding form.

It seems unlikely that Hulbert will return before the end of the season but both he and Kieran Phillips have been spoken about having a place in the first-team squad.

Hulbert, who had a respectable loan spell at Cardiff Met last year, finishing as their top scorer, has continued his form into the English game.

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After an early season move at Hereford, a move closer to home to nearby Gloucester, has seen him score seven gals in 11 league matches and that is a respectable return for a team struggling in the national League North.

Months ago perhaps keeping him rather than loaning him out would have been the better option but with the signing of Ryan Loft as well as the expected return of Harvey Saunders and Leon Clarke, he would have found it difficult.

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