Bristol Rovers' first pre-season fixture of the 2023/24 season is out of the way, and they won in convincing fashion, though results aren't important at this stage.
The Gas won 9-0 last Friday against the non-league outfit, with Luke Thomas and Scott Sinclair getting braces, as well as efforts from Luke McCormick and John Marquis, whilst Jevani Brown, Ryan Loft, and trialist Téo Kurtaran were also on target. A few days later, the national media ascended on to Oakfield Stadium because for the first time, a woman took charge of an EFL club, with Forest Green Rovers drawing 1-1 under Hannah Dingley's stewardship.
Two years ago however, Joey Barton was gearing up for his first pre-season as manager of Bristol Rovers. He was appointed manager in February 2021, and unfortunately could not stop the club from being relegated, but the summer represented a chance for him to fully implement his stance on things. In the same season, he signed more than a dozen players, but it resulted in promotion, and since then they've had a season of consolidation in League One.
Rovers next friendlies include a trip to Eastleigh on Saturday, July 8, before a behind-closed-doors fixture with Cardiff City, and then a match with Brentford B, which could feature David Beckham's son, and that match will take place at the Met Police FC's Imber Court Sports Club. Further games include a week-long trip to Porutugal, before rounding off their campaign with a home match against Chesterfield, with fans being present at a different looking Memorial Stadium, because of the demolition of the South Stand.
To keep yourself in the pre-season mood, here we take a look at Joey Barton's first ever pre-season XI, which still has a few players from his team now, but there's a lot of changes...