The three players Joey Barton and Bristol Rovers COULD cash in on this summer

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We look at the 13 players currently contracted to Rovers which is quite a small amount, and whether selling them COULD mean more players to come in.

Bristol Rovers have 13 first-team players contracted beyond this summer, which opens up the opportunity for them to sign more players but also move on what they’ve got.

The Gas currently have five players on loan from Premier League and Championship clubs, but once their loans are up, they enter a cycle they’ve been in for the past few seasons. Some players have made an impact and fans would love for them to return, but ultimately it’s up to the parent clubs to decide. James Connolly was the only player re-resigned from last season’s promotion winning campaign, whilst an attempt to re-sign Connor Taylor failed in January.

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This summer is a big one for Joey Barton and his transfer recruitment staff, because if they can secure survival in their next few games then they will want to improve next season. Barton has a contract until the summer of 2026, and has spoken of his desire to take the club to the Championship.

We look at the 13 players currently contracted to Rovers which is quite a small amount, and whether selling them COULD mean more players to come in.

Aaron Collins

Easily Rovers’ best player this season, and the likely winner of the Player of the Season award. His 15 goals and 11 assists is a career best campaign for contributions, and he is the talk of the third tier.

The rate of his goals may have slowed down but he’ll still be happy with how his season has gone so far. Before the January transfer window opened, there was a valuation of around £4.5m placed on him, with Barton suggesting they could get a similar fee to what Burnley paid MK Dons for Scott Twine.

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The 25-year-old has two years left on his contract, so it’s not like they need to sell him anyway. Portsmouth were said to be interested in the summer, but other than that no other clubs have publicly been linked. Barton however has already spoken about potentially selling Collins and reinvesting that into the ‘next prospect’ in the blue and white quartered jersey.

Collins has been by far the best player for Rovers this season, and losing him would be a blow given his goal contribution, but a potential sale could allow that money to be reinvested into the whole squad. Several areas need filling, and Rovers still have John Marquis too, whilst the loan market could be sourced for a replacement.

Ryan Loft

Rovers paid a fee to Scunthorpe United back in January 2021, and he was seen as a long-term investment. They needed an out-and-out number nine with an injury to Leon Clarke meaning Antony Evans and Sam Nicholson had to play up top at times. Luckily Collins found form, but Loft struggled, scoring one goal in the promotion run-in.

Loft did have a bit of a scoring streak in August and September, and it looked like he could offer something this season. He’s not scored since October, and has had setbacks with injuries, as well as a suspension. He’s been kept out of the side first by Josh Coburn and then John Marquis, so there needs to be some improvement from him on his behalf.

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Selling Loft could leave Rovers light up top, but there may need to be some wheeling and dealing to get a squad that Barton wants.

Luke McCormick

Rovers made a big effort to re-sign McCormick, and waited a large part of the summer transfer window. It’s safe to say though that the former Chelsea midfielder has struggled to make an impact in his second spell. He wasn’t helped by a lack of pre-season at Wimbledon, and then being kept out by newcomer Lamare Bogarde.

McCormick was subbed off in Rovers’ win over Forest Green and warned about his conduct, and so the remainder of the season will be a period where he will have to prove that the club were right to re-sign him. A newly promoted club could take McCormick off of Rovers’ hands but they’d likely have to cut their losses with him if he did leave.

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