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Bristol Rovers set to sign ex-Blackpool attacking midfielder as Barton bids for five arrivals

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Antony Evans is expected to be a Bristol Rovers player by the end of the day with the former Blackpool playmaker set to sign on a free transfer.

As reported by the Sun’s Alan Nixon, former England Under-19 international Evans, who started his career in Everton’s academy, will join Joey Barton’s squad as his 14th summer signing following his release by SC Paderborn in Germany.

Evans could be seen as a direct replacement for Zain Westbrooke, but with greater versatility, with the Gas midfielder among those set to leave north Bristol on what promises to be a busy deadline day.

The 22-year-old has EFL experience with Morecambe, Blackpool and Crewe Alexandra in League One and is another midfield signing, along with Sam Finley and Paul Coutts, where Barton has persuaded a player to drop down a level.

Barton will hope Evans craft and technique can help bring the best out of a Gas attacking midfield which has struggled to break teams open this season.

Evans can play either on the right flank or through the middle and is a fine set-piece taker.

Evans won’t be eligible for tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy fixture against Cheltenham Town with EFL rules stating new signings have to be registered by midday on Monday, meaning the earliest his debut will against Crawley on Saturday at the earliest.

Barton has set an ambitious target of five signings on deadline day, with Evans likely to be followed by Leon Clarke, Glenn Whelan and a left-sided defender, with the final addition potentially being another striker.

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