Joey Barton to face Wigan Athletic again after being named Bristol Rovers manager

Joey Barton has returned to management after being appointed boss of Wigan’s League One rivals Bristol Rovers.
Joey Barton is the new Bristol Rovers manager.Joey Barton is the new Bristol Rovers manager.
Joey Barton is the new Bristol Rovers manager.

Barton, who parted company with Fleetwood Town earlier this season, has been given a contract until 2023 with the Gas.

The 38-year-old succeeds Paul Tisdale in charge after he was sacked on February 10, with Rovers mired in a relegation battle with Wigan ahead of the two sides meeting tomorrow night.

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"We are delighted to welcome Joey to Bristol Rovers and look forward to working closely with him to progress our football club forward," Rovers' president Wael Al-Qadi said.

"Joey's experience in the game is matched by his passion for coaching and delivering results, which made him a standout candidate for the role.

"He's got a good knowledge of the league already thanks to his spell at Fleetwood and has shown his credentials at delivering results and getting the best out of the players he works with.

"We are confident that he will be able to continue the ongoing development of the younger players coming through the ranks at the club and speaking to him, I know his ambitions align with what we want to achieve as a football club."

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Barton guided Fleetwood to the League One play-offs last season, where they eventually lost to Wycombe Wanderers. He left Fleetwood last month after a run of just one win in seven league games.

Barton’s appointment has divided the Rovers fanbase. The high-profile former Manchester City man gained a reputation for playing good, possession-based football at Fleetwood, albeit with a physical edge, but the 38-year-old is facing a court case in June after his alleged clash with former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel.

Barton has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He has pleaded not guilty and will stand trial.

His first game as Bristol Rovers boss is on Tuesday at home against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic.

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The Gas are 19th, just two points above the relegation places.

The Wales international has been restricted to only one appearance in the last four months - the 1-0 win at Sunderland on December 5 - because of a knee problem that required surgery.