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Bristol Rovers must swoop for former loanee to boost their defence ahead of promotion push



Bristol Rovers narrowly missed out on the League One play-off spots following back to back promotions to the division from the National League, and Darrell Clarke will be delighted with what his side achieved last season.

If Rovers are to take that extra step next season, they must improve upon their defensive capabilities, having shipped a concerning 70 goals across the course of the campaign.

Clarke will know that this ultimately cost them a place in the top six, and will address this issue over the summer to ensure his defence is patched ahead of the big kick off next month.

One man who impressed at the back for the club last season was Stoke youngster Ryan Sweeney, who joined the Pirates in the second half of the season on a loan deal.

The 20-year-old is unlikely to challenge for a first team spot at the Britannia next season, so another loan deal could be on the cards, and Clarke should be open to bringing the player back to the Memorial Ground.

The Ireland U21 international began his career with AFC Wimbledon before being picked up by the Premier League side, and the form he exhibited at Rovers last season suggests the scouting team at Stoke is up to scratch.

A successful year in League One around the play off spots will do Sweeney the world of good, and may prepare him for a crack at breaking into the first team at Stoke in 2018.

Clarke should look to tie up this deal as soon as possible, and allow Sweeney to reacclimatise to life in Bristol over the course of the pre season period.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Bristol Rovers must swoop for former loanee to boost their defence ahead of promotion push

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