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Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton wants loan players from last season to return

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton says he would like to bring back his loan players from last season.

Bristol Rovers borrowed the likes of Luke Thomas from Barnsley, James Connolly from Cardiff City, Connor Taylor from Stoke City, Sion Spence from Crystal Palace and Elliot Anderson from Newcastle United.

The loan additions all played their part in the Pirates’ promotion from League Two this past term.

The Gas are now preparing for life back in League One and their manager has made it clear that he would like to bring back his loanees if possible.

Read: Bristol Rovers lodge offer for defender 

Barton has said, as per BBC Radio Bristol (cited from Bristol Live):

“We would want to take them all, but they are somebody else’s players and they kindly loan them to you. I’m incredibly grateful to Stoke and Newcastle and Barnsley and Cardiff for loaning us their young players and trusting us with their development. If they came available, you’d love to have a conversation with them.”

How did Thomas and Connolly in particular do at Bristol Rovers?

Bristol Rovers swooped to sign Thomas last summer to add more competition and depth to their attacking department.

It took him a while to get going with his temporary club but he ended up becoming an important player for the Gas.

There is no doubt that the winger has quality and he ended up making 32 appearances in all competitions, chipping in with five assists and a single goal.

The former Derby County man has returned to parent club Barnsley now and they have a decision to make on his long-term future with his contract up at the end of next season (June 2023).

One factor worth noting is the fact that the Tykes have been relegated from the Championship and it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that they could see Thomas as a decent option for next season.

Connolly has also left the club now and has gone back to Cardiff City. He made the move to Bristol Rovers during the January transfer window and joined them as a bit of an unknown quantity.

Nevertheless, he slotted into their side with ease and despite being only 20-year-old and out on loan for the first time in his career, he showed maturity in his performances and ended up becoming a key player.

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