Bristol Rovers attempted to sign Luton Town striker Danny Hylton and Preston North End frontman Jayden Stockley in January, with the club’s CEO Martyn Starnes making the claims during a recent interview with the Bristol Post.
At that stage of the season, the Gas were looking to move themselves up the league standings under Paul Tisdale and it was quickly identified that goalscoring was one of their most fundamental issues as a collective.
As a result of this, the Sky Bet League One side quickly drew up a list of targets that could fill the void and move them away from trouble.
Now, Starnes has revealed that both Hylton and Stockley were two players that they missed out on during the winter window:
“Paul had been speaking to Jayden Stockley, it seemed very positive that the lad wanted to come and play for us.
“I managed to negotiate terms with Preston, which seemed to be accepted, and I was told all Stockley had to do was go in and knock on Peter Ridsdale’s door and say he wanted to come to Bristol Rovers.
“Unfortunately, he chose to go to Charlton Athletic. Probably because of their position in the league and I’ve subsequently found out that our offer for Jayden was 50% more than Charlton are paying, so it was nothing to do with finances.
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“And I picked up the phone to my friend Nathan Jones, manager at Luton, and asked about Danny Hylton and Luton were prepared to let him come but Danny was still in the squad and wanted to fight for his place, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do and we respect that decision.”
Hylton has featured just 19 times for the Hatters this term and has failed to find the net at all for his club, whilst Stockley has gone on to prove to be an inspired signing for Charlton, bagging eight goals in 21 games for the play-off chasers at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, Rovers finish their season off this weekend as they travel to Blackpool on Sunday, with their relegation to League Two having already been confirmed.
This season has been nothing short of a disaster for Bristol Rovers and they will no doubt look back on missed opportunites such as these as moments that could have turned the tide.
Hylton and Stockley are both proven scorers at Football League level and may well have changed things for the Gas, but their problems clearly run a lot deeper than just goalscoring.
They now have a full pre-season to rebuild under Joey Barton and there are sure to be mass changes that will be made to the current squad.
Rovers simply have to go again and attempt to get back to League One at the earliest opportunity and that task will inevitably start from the first day of the next campaign as they look to pick up the pieces of the carnage which has occurred in the present.