, Bristol Rovers have ‘different options’ as Joey Barton makes admission on Championship player pursuit

Bristol Rovers have ‘different options’ as Joey Barton makes admission on Championship player pursuit

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton has admitted he’d be ‘surprised’ if Connor Taylor ends up returning to the Gas if he maintains a place in Stoke City’s starting XI.

Stoke City handed 20-year-old defender Taylor his first start for the Potters in their opening day clash with Millwall.

He played all 90 minutes after making a good impression in pre-season but he has unable to prevent the Lions from securing a 2-0 home win thanks to a brace from loan ace Charlie Cresswell.

Taylor’s breakthrough comes after a starring loan stint with Bristol Rovers, and manager Joey Barton has been vocal about his desire to reunite with the promising centre-back ahead of the new season.

However, speaking with Bristol Live, he has admitted he would be ‘surprised’ if they could strike a deal after Taylor’s start.

He stated that the Gas do have other options in mind, though they will be remaining patient. Here’s what he had to say:

“If he’s starting for them, he isn’t going to come here.

“If he’s starting for Stoke City in the Championship, I’d be surprised.

“As I say, we’d love to have Connor back, but he isn’t our player and we’ve got to have different irons in the fire.

“We’ve got a few different options there, but again teams are keeping players in for pre-season, mainly Premier League, and they’re going ‘No, we’re going to keep them for another week’ because they’re a week behind us.

“We’ve just got to be patient and wait for the shakeout.”

Ready for the step up?

Making the step up to Championship football after a season in League Two marks a big step up for Taylor, but it’s certain that he’s a promising player with a future in the Potters’ senior side.

His composure and aerial presence saw him stand out on a bad day at the office for Stoke City on Saturday.

That should only do his confidence and chances of maintaining a place in the starting XI good, but it remains to be seen if he can make a role in Michael O’Neill’s defence his own.

As for Bristol Rovers, while they would have hoped to have Taylor back, it’s encouraging to see Barton say ‘different options’ are in mind. It will be hoped that whoever, if anyone, comes in can enjoy a similar level of success to Taylor.

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