It has been a promising return to League One for Bristol Rovers as they head into the crucial Christmas period sat within touching distance of the play-offs.
Joey Barton’s side have enjoyed a positive run of form during December by taking four points from the visit to Bolton Wanderers and last weekend’s home game with Port Vale and they progressed in the Papa John’s Trophy with a 4-1 home win against MK Dons in midweek.
A busy Christmas week lies in wait with visits to Charlton Athletic and Wycombe Wanderers and a home game with Exeter City on the agenda before 2023 opens up with a Memorial Ground clash with Cheltenham Town. All focus will turn towards the January transfer window once that hectic spell of fixtures is complete and we thought we would have a look at how the popular Football Manager 2023 game predicts what business Barton will conduct in the first month of the new year.
1. GK: Anssi Jaakkola
The veteran Finnish stopper seems to have seen off the challenge of James Belshaw as Joey Barton’s first choice. Photo: Getty Images
2. CB: Bobby Thomas
The on-loan Burnley defender joined Rovers on a season-long deal and has been a consistent presence in the side during the first half of the campaign on Football Manager. Photo: Isaac Parkin
3. CB: Maksim Paskotsi
The first of Barton’s signings during the January window as the Tottenham Hotspur and Estonia centre-back joined on a half-season loan deal. Photo: Getty Images
4. CB: Lewis Gibson
The on-loan Everton defender has been one of Rovers’ most consistent players during the first half of their virtual season. Photo: Getty Images