Joey Barton has given an update on the future of Bristol Rovers goalkeeper James Belshaw with his future now looking in doubt.
Belshaw, 32, made 38 appearances for Bristol Rovers in League One last season. He kept eight clean sheets as the Gas finished 17th in League One.
So far in the 2023/24 campaign Barton has opted for goalkeeper Matthew Cox between the sticks after he joined from Premier League club Brentford on loan.
But, Belshaw hasn’t just dropped to the bench, he hasn’t been in the last two matchday squads and that has raised questions over his future at the club.
“From our perspective there’s a standard of behaviour.
“James is obviously going to be disappointed with Matthew Cox coming in and taking the starting jersey.
“Two Saturday’s on the spin, last Saturday at Portsmouth his agent phoned Eddie (Jennings) before a mall was kicked to try and speak about moving.
“Saturday at 10.00 am before the games kicked off, Belly’s ringing me to ask if he can go out on loan to another club, which I felt was very very selfish.
“At that point I have decided he’s not going to be part of our group going forward.”
Following this incident, Barton admits he’s lost patience with the shot stopper.
“He’s been great in the League Two season and I like James, he’s a good man but sometimes he lets the emotion get the better of him and unfortunately he’s reached the end of his tether with me.”
A disappointing end
Belshaw has had two full seasons at the club now and this would be a bad note to end his time there on.
The 32-year-old understandably wants to play every minute he can, but there is a way to do things and the general feeling from Barton here is that he’s gone about that the wrong way.
Should no team come in for him between now and the window deadline then it’ll be interesting to see how this relationship repairs and whether Belshaw manages to work his way back into Barton’s plans.
But, for now 20-year-old Cox has the full backing and given the Gas’ strong start a change between the sticks doesn’t seem imminent.
Up next for Bristol Rovers is a trip to Cambridge United this weekend.