Joey Barton gears up for pitch battle with Bristol Rovers



Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2023 by PA

Joey Barton gears up for pitch battle with Bristol Rovers

Joey Barton pointed at the Bristol Rovers pitch in explaining one of several reasons for his side losing 2-0 to Wycombe.

The Gas had plenty of chances, with 21 shots in total and six on target, but could not find the net against the visitors from Buckinghamshire.

Josh Coburn, Aaron Collins and John Marquis all enjoyed good sights of goal but could not convert at the Memorial Stadium as the West Country outfit slipped to a sixth home game without victory.

Instead a rare mistake from on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Lamare Bogarde, who was otherwise excellent, gifted the ball to Tjay De Barr and Rovers went one down after 16 minutes.

“I think it’s our pitch, he [Bogarde] won’t be used to that at Villa – a bobble off the pitch, the ball hits a mole hill or a bobble and gets away,” said Barton.

“I’ve spoken to Tom Gorringe [the Rovers CEO] and the owner about fixing the pitch. Seriously, and I’ve even said if they don’t then they might need to get another coach in.

“I want to build a team that controls the ball. Our training pitch is better than the stadium pitch and that is not acceptable.

“I might have to change our recruitment in the summer if we don’t change the pitch as there’s no point bringing in players to control the ball.

“Did we lose tonight because of the pitch? No. People will say it’s just an excuse. We didn’t lose because of the pitch but it’s a mitigating factor in the first goal and goals change games.”

Barton’s assessment of Wycombe was that he will likely meet them again next year: “I think it’ll be a hell of an achievement for them to go up from what I’ve seen of them. But they’ve taken six points from us.

“I expect to see them in the division again next season.”

Meanwhile opposite number Matt Bloomfield hailed former Rovers striker Brandon Hanlon, who converted De Barr’s pass for the opening goal that set the Chairboys on the way to their win before Chem Campbell’s goal clinched the points.

“Brandon is a guy who I’ve got a lot of love for. He’s a great lad and he works so hard at his game. He’s so conscientious about what he wants to do,” said Bloomfield.

“It’s nice to see him get an opportunity as a nine tonight after Sam (Vokes) has been majestic for us and is now out (injured). And he’s taken his opportunity. He occupies defenders and he’s a constant threat and he took his goal well.

“That’s taking nothing away from Tjay’s work-rate in the middle of the park. In his first league start for us I thought he did really well.”

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