What to expect from Bristol Rovers on deadline day as Gas expected to do business both in and out

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No signings announced over the weekend mean Rovers move into Deadline Day to get their deals done

Deadline day is upon us and it is expected that we will see some transfer business at Bristol Rovers with deals that could go down to the wire.

Joey Barton had hoped to conclude his business early when chasing his two targets but with a game sandwiched in between, he’s been unable to.

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After no signings were announced on a quiet Sunday afternoon, he and the football club have to work on one of the hectic days of the footballing calendar.

The last chance to ask Barton about his ideas for a signing were Saturday and he revealed he wanted two positions.

At first was a left-back as Trevor Clarke is sidelined for six weeks, which has meant Josh Grant has deputised there mainly.

"I think we could do with a recognised left full-back,” said Barton in his post-match press conference after the win over Walsall.

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“Mainly because it just allows Nick Anderton to come into left-side centre-half which I think is his natural position.

As well as a left-sided defender, there is also a desire to try and find a midfielder of the same silk as Sam Finley and Antony Evans.

Those midfielders are hard to come by though given Evans his form this season with five goals and six assists in 20 appearances.

Finley meanwhile is probably playing a division lower than he should having spent the last three seasons in the third tier of ENglish football.

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"So, I’d probably play left full back and I think we could do with another Sam Finley, Antony Evans-type midfielder, but they’re difficult to find, especially when you’re a League Two manager. “

An experienced centre-back could also be on the list given Mark Hughes’ departure from the club earlier this month.

At the moment two 20-year-old’s in Connor Taylor and James Connolly are playing there whilst Alfie Kilgour recovers.

The signing of Ryan Loft may affect Brett Pitman’s long-term future at the club. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)The signing of Ryan Loft may affect Brett Pitman’s long-term future at the club. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
The signing of Ryan Loft may affect Brett Pitman’s long-term future at the club. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) | Getty Images

As well as there being a hope of some incomings, there is also an expectation that some players could be moved on.

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Already this month, the likes of Zain Westbrooke and Zain Walker, who weren’t part of Barton’s plans, have been moved on.

Barton is keen to move on players that aren’t a part of his regular match day squads so he can reinvest that money into the squad.

Two players that look to be following the two Zain’s out of the Mem are Junior Brown and Brett Pitman, who only signed last summer.

Brown hasn’t played a match for Rovers since October being sidelined with an injury and he has been free to leave for the last week.

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A discussion was had with the player about potentially exploring his options but from the initial news, there hadn’t been any clubs interested in him.

Whether a club comes in for him remains to be seen but given Barton is interested in a left-back, it makes his playing opportunities limited.

Potentially following Brown out of the door is Pitman, who despite having links to Bristol City, signed for the Gas in the summer.

The 33-year-old has got four goals in 16 appearances this season and joined off the back of hitting double figures at Swindon Town in League One last year.

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Pitman though has had to settle for a bit-part role and has often found himself playing on the bench despite at times Rovers not having a recognised striker.

"It’s going to be difficult to give him opportunities now based on the players we’ve got at our disposal,” said Barton on Saturday after revealing the striker was left out of his match day squad to look at other clubs.

"If you’ve had a career like Brett has had, you want to go out playing. You don’t want to go out being 19th man and not playing on a matchday.

"It’s different if you’re 20 and you’re developing, but not when you’re 33, so, I wanted to give him that opportunity.”

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Pitman’s potential departure doesn’t necessarily mean that a striker will come in either after recruiting the desired out and out number nine in the earlier parts of the transfer window with the addition of Ryan Loft.

Some players such as Cameron Hargreaves and Pablo Martinez could be considered for loan moves but as the National League is not bound by a transfer window then they can depart the Mem even when the window is shut.

Last week Barton was also asked whether there had been discussions with Crystal Palace about Sion Spence potentially being recalled by the Eagles, though since then the Wales Under-21 international has found himself on the bench, though only as an unused substitute.

Though if Barton can get a midfielder in the same form of Evans then Spence’s task of breaking into the team would be made even more difficult.

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