Joey Barton has revealed that George Friend and Jack Hunt are in contention for their potential debut’s ahead of Bristol Rovers’ clash against Wycombe Wanderers at the Memorial Stadium this weekend.
Both Friend and Hunt joined the club this summer after departing from Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively, but are yet to play a competitive match for the Gas.
The Rovers gaffer detailed the developments regading Hunt, since his signature of a two-year deal that was penned last week. He was part of the Owls side that won the League One play-offs last year and adds experience as to what was a youthful backline.
Hunt joined last Thursday, but didn’t make the match-day squad against Cambridge United, but has now had a full weeks training under his belt.
He said: “We’ll keep our cards quite close to our chest on that. He’s joined in with the lads this week in training, whether or not he’s ready to start, we’ll obviously decide that on match day.
“He’s not a million miles away, now that he’s training and is coming into the group, this will give him a chance to get into the squad and hopefully in the starting 11 in the near future.”
Barton then went onto talk about 35-year-old Friend’s fight to get fit for the weekend since the injury he sustained last month. He is closing in on return, and could provide cover for Lewis Gordon who has been unopposed at left-back so far this season.
The ex Premier League defender made 299 apperances for Middlesbrough, scoring 10 goals for the northeast side, before making the switch to Birmingham, which then saw his depature from the club this summer.
“He’s had another week of training this week,” said Barton about Friend. He comes into the reckoning, there’s a few lads in that category.
“We’ll see how the bodies are after training on Friday and make a decision. I spoke to the lads this morning and said look around you, look at the gang we’ve got and the team we’ve got building.”
It seems the injury list is starting to shorten for Rovers, as they head into their fifth league game of the season, much to the delight of Gashead fans.
Rovers head into the weekend in 14th place in the league, a point above Wanderers who sit in 17th position, with what’s setup to be a thrilling encounter at the Memorial Stadium this weekend.