The two players Bristol Rovers should go and sign from their League Two rivals to cement their play-off push

Tyreece Simpson almost scored double figures for Swindon in the first part of the season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Tyreece Simpson almost scored double figures for Swindon in the first part of the season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Tyreece Simpson almost scored double figures for Swindon in the first part of the season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Bristol Rovers are in the market for at least two players in a number of positions, we take a look at two players who could make the difference.

Joey Barton is hopeful of making at least two more signings ahead of Monday’s deadline on the January transfer window.

The Gas have brought in Ryan Loft from Scunthorpe and James Connolly from Cardiff City early but now there’s some business to be done towards the end of the window.

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A full-back has been suggested to provide cover for Josh Grant who is deputising at left-back because of injuries to Junior Brown and Trevor Clarke.

There has also been a desire for an experienced centre-back especially after the two late goals shipped to Scunthorpe on Tuesday.

And despite being well stocked in the strikers department with all their forwards now fit, they are also considering options there.

Below we take a look at two players who’s managers have made them available for transfer, making them realistic targets for the Rovers ahead of that Monday deadline.

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As well as defending, Corey O’Keeffe has a good assists record this season. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)As well as defending, Corey O’Keeffe has a good assists record this season. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
As well as defending, Corey O’Keeffe has a good assists record this season. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Corey O’Keeffe

This is a player who will be known to Rovers given he assisted Rochdale’s first goal against them in the 4-2 defeat back in December.

During his time at Spotland he provided six assists, the same amount as Antony Evans, from his position as wing-back so he fits the mould as a player that can both defend and support in attack.

The 23-year-old spent the first half of the season at Rochdale but was brought back by his parent club Mansfield, though he is being touted for a move away with Rochdale keen for a return though other clubs have been interested.

At the start of the window, Nigel Clough said to the Hucknall Dispatch: “We have had a couple of enquiries about Corey both from Rochdale and other clubs as well.

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“He has attracted interest and if we’re not going to play the three centre halves then Corey may well move on. He is a young lad who wants to play football.”

Ironically the man to bring him to The Field Mill is former Rovers manager Graham Coughlan, though he only played under him a few times before he was dismissed as Stags manager.

Wing-back is an area that Rovers do need options in given the injuries they have had on both sides. It’s telling that Grant a defensive midfielder is playing in the role right now but he’s made himself the ultimate utility man this season.

Barton though spoke about ‘protecting’ Grant because the player himself has had a few injuries this season and not all players can do the long slog of a 46-game season including midweeks.

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O’Keefe plays on the right-hand side of the defence so he would perhaps take the place of Luca Hoole instead of Grant but there could be a consideration to try him or the other options on the left-hand side.

Tyreece Simpson

This seems perhaps a bit too ambitious but if you can’t beat them, you might as well sign them. Before being recalled by parent club Ipswich Town last week, Simpson left his mark in a Swindon Town shirt by opening the scoring against Rovers last week.

The 19-year-old had notched up his ninth goal of the league season in what was his 25th match in his loan spell with the Robins.

It is understood that he was brought back to Portman Road as his deal is expiring so they wanted to extend his contract before letting him out on loan again.

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Asked about the prospect of being sent back out on loan, “There are discussions at the moment between himself and the club,” revealed Ken McKenna to the East Anglian Daily Times earlier this week.

“Hopefully they’ll get resolved over the next few days and then we’ll sit down with Tyreece and discuss what’s best for him for rest of the season."

A return to Swindon of course would be the logical opposition but imagine if Rovers could snatch him him from Swindon’s noses.

As mentioned the striking position is one in which they’ve got options in with the goal scoring return of Leon Clarke as well as the good form of Aaron Collins. You’ve also got Brett Pitman and Harvey Saunders waiting in the wings.

Simpson though has shown though for the first part of the season he is capable of scoring goals at this level and could provide a different kind of forward for Joey Barton to choose from.

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