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Ian Holloway defends Bristol Rovers’ Joey Barton over midweek decision



Ian Holloway believes that Joey Barton is justified for his decision to make 11 changes for Bristol Rovers’ EFL Trophy clash with Exeter City.

Gas manager, Barton, will be under scrutiny following the 5-3 defeat. Yet, Holloway acknowledges, per Bristol Live: “As a football manager, you are judged by the big decisions you make.”

Barton clearly rested his regular first team members as they prepare to take on Northampton tomorrow, and face League One outfit Oxford United in an FA Cup first round replay.

Wednesday’s defeat to Exeter came in a game that could have seen Rovers progress with a victory.

However, the young side were on the end of a 5-3 loss and each Exeter goal coming in the first half.

One of the major decisions Barton made, starting goalkeeper Jed Ward, who suffered a dead leg in the morning training session.

A juxtaposing view, Barton will have seen the fight and belief his youngsters shown as they scored three goals without reply – against a fairly strong Exeter lineup.

Holloway, who made over 100 appearances for Bristol Rovers, wrote on Bristol Live: “Sometimes supporters need to look at the bigger picture.

“I found the team selection perfectly understandable during a busy fixture period. Speaking as someone who got fined by the EFL during my time as Blackpool manager, for fielding a weakened side.”

Following a 2-2 draw with Oxford, The Pirates are now only two home victories away from the third round.

Holloway also expressed: “His [Barton] number one priority is to establish consistency in the League. In light of that, the next two fixtures are of greater importance than the Exeter match.”

For the older Rovers fans, Holloway explained: “When I was part of the Bristol Rovers team who reached the final in 1990, manager Gerry Francis picked pretty much the same lineup as for league games. We only had a squad of 16, but times have changed.”

The verdict

Joey Barton has had a tough start to the season with key players such as Jack Baldwin, Ed Upson and Max Ehmer leaving in the summer.

They have lacked consistency in the League so far, they currently sit in 16th.

However, their early exit from the Papa John’s Trophy is a positive – they are now able to focus on the League.

On top of this, Tuesday is their opportunity to mount a cup run. If they are victorious, they face fellow League Two side Sutton United. The two sides are yet to play each other, yet Sutton are ninth, only outside the play-offs as a result of goal difference.

Quiz: 30 questions about some of Bristol Rovers’ best ever players – Can you score 100% correct?

1 of 30

How many goals did Geoff Bradford score for Bristol Rovers?

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Ian Holloway defends Bristol Rovers’ Joey Barton over midweek decision

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