The end to the summer transfer window is nigh but Joey Barton has set himself an almighty task over the next two days with his willingness to sign five new players for Bristol Rovers.
Among that quintet – and speaking on Saturday he revealed he was confident of four – is unquestionably a striker, with the Gas sorely missing a central striker who can hold the ball up, win fouls, compete in the air and basically do the dirty work for others to flourish around them, not to mention score a few goals.
Reports on the South Coast have indicated that Rovers are one of a number of clubs to have expressed an interest in signing Ellis Harrison, along with Cheltenham Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Fleetwood Town.
Harrison is one of the players Danny Cowley has been keen to move on this summer to help bring Pompey’s wage bill and he was on the verge of a move to Oxford United earlier in the window only for it to collapse.
The 27-year-old was left out of Pompey’s squad to face Wigan on Saturday, staying behind to train and it seems highly likely he’ll be playing his football somewhere else before the clock strikes 11pm on Tuesday night.
It goes without saying but Rovers fans are well-versed in what Harrison can bring to the team having experienced his rise from the academy into consistent first-team player before his £750,000 sale to Ipswich Town in 2018.
Harrison isn’t specifically the kind of physical, rugged central No9 Barton is looking for but has the athleticism and energy that could bring something different to a Rovers attack that is yet to find any fluidity, plus quality on the ball.
He’s aerially very strong, giving Rovers an extra weapon in both boxes, and given his familiarity with Bristol and the club he should, unlike other new signings, hit the ground running.
It should be emphasised that with interest further up the pyramid, Rovers appears outsiders in terms of getting him but that doesn’t mean fans can’t debate the potential merits of the deal.
Matt Hill: “It would be amazing if he did come back I highly rated Ellis great player.”
Tony Helliar: “Would be great. He is one of the quality players whose loss we now feel, along with Lines, Clarke-Harris, Sercombe, Lockyer etc.”
Seb Hurcombe: “He’d be a great signing, but he won’t come if he’s got League 1 clubs interested. Let’s see what happens this week.”
Simon Gould: “Yes would be our best attacker & best defender on top of being a great lad.”
Mark Bailey: “Not sure it will happen unless Ellis wants to come home. I for one hope he does.”