Bristol Rovers Complete Signing From League One Rival

Bristol Rovers have completed the signing of winger Luke Thomas from Barnsley on a three-year deal, according to the club’s official website.

A familiar face at the Memorial Stadium having enjoyed a loan spell with Rovers during the 2021/22 season, Thomas played a key part in the side that got promoted that year.

During his stint with the Gas, the winger made 28 League Two appearances, providing five assists during that time. Thomas was a starter in Rovers’ monumental 7-0 final day of the season win against Scunthorpe, which ensured their promotion to the third tier in the most dramatic fashion.

Thomas will be returning to the Memorial Ground after a solid season with Barnsley, where he made 27 League One appearances. It would have been plenty more had the 24-year-old not sustained a double leg fracture in October, which would sideline him until February. Thomas’ minutes decreased once returning from injury but he would appear in the League One play-off final, coming on as a substitute against Sheffield Wednesday, who the Tykes lost to by the narrowest of margins in the final minute of extra-time.

Who is Luke Thomas?

The winger began his career with Derby County, who he would make just two competitive appearances for. A loan to Coventry City helped the 24-year-old gain experience within the senior ranks and after impressing during his loan spell, he would move on to Barnsley that summer for a reported seven-figure fee. In total, Thomas made 95 appearances for the Tykes, the majority of those coming in the Championship. A part of the Bristol Rovers’ promotion winning side in 2022, Thomas will certainly receive a warm welcome returning to the Memorial Stadium, as he searches for more consistent game time in the forthcoming season. A player who predominantly plays on the right wing, Thomas likes to cut in onto his stronger left foot to create chances for his teammates. He should be a starter for Rovers next season and will be wanting to improve his goalscoring output to repay the faith that Barton has put in him.

What’s been said?

Speaking on his return to Bristol Rovers, Thomas said:

“It’s great to be back at Rovers. I’m here for three years and it’s time to push on and enjoy more success here.”

Manager Joey Barton added:

“We are happy to be reunited with Luke. He tasted promotion with us two seasons ago and we tried to get him back in for last season. As it turned out, he had a trip to Wembley and almost got Barnsley up. However, he’s back at Rovers now and will be a key part of our dressing room. The three-year deal reflects how highly we rate his potential and what he could bring to the team.”

Writer’s view

Before his injury, Thomas was having a great season and was enjoying a solid spell in Barnsley’s first team. He should see consistent minutes for Rovers if able to stay fit and it would be no surprise if he has his strongest season to date. Having prior knowledge of the club should help the winger hit the ground running and the Gas could find themselves in the top-half if getting the best out of Thomas.

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