Barnsley midfielder Luke Thomas joined Bristol Rovers on loan during the summer, proceeding to make four League Two appearances thus far.
Starting the first three games of the season, Thomas has only played 28 minutes of the last three matches, with Joey Barton revealing why in an interview with Bristol Live.
Progressing through the ranks at West Brom and Cheltenham Town, Thomas joined Derby County in January 2016, proceeding to continue his development with the Championship club’s U18s and U23s.
In 2017, Thomas embarked on a loan spell with Gloucester City, and later in the month, when he had returned, he made his debut for The Rams during a 2-0 win against QPR.
Joining Coventry of League One for the 2018/19 campaign, Thomas scored four goals and provided five assists in 43 appearances for The Sky Blues.
Barnsley then signed the young winger in the summer of 2019, loaning him out to Ipswich Town for the end of last season, before lending him to Barton’s side.
Speaking to Bristol Live about Thomas and why he was omitted from the squad for Saturday’s clash against Crawley Town, Barton said: “Luke Thomas, we’ve decided to get him fit, to take him out of the matchday squad for the last couple of games, because we feel we can get more physical work into him.
“He missed pre-season, didn’t really tap in until the last couple of weeks of it. He’s not played since February last year. He’s had a few mad moments both on and off the pitch in between that.
“He needs to get himself as fit as he can to impact games, so we’re having a bit of a mini pre-season with Tommo at the minute and he’ll probably miss next Saturday but will possibly be back with the group the Saturday after.”
Thomas is still a very exciting prospect who can enjoy an excellent career with Barnsley, but they will be hoping that he can return to full fitness as soon as possible.
These hopes will be held by those at Bristol Rovers too, with Barton previously stating that he could be a key player in their promotion attempt this season.
Thomas has an excellent chance this season to prove himself at this level and force his way into contention for a starting spot at Barnsley next season.
The 22-year-old has all the tools to succeed at fourth-tier level, he just needs to get his fitness levels back up to the required standard.