Bristol Rovers boss John Ward confirms Colchester United happy to grant John-Joe O'Toole extension
Bristol Rovers' hopes of keeping on-loan midfielder John-Joe O'Toole have been boosted this morning after manager John Ward confirmed Colchester United have no objections to granting an extension.
O'Toole, who is scheduled to play the last game of his initial one-month loan spell at Rotherham on Saturday, is scheduled to return to his parent club next Tuesday.
Colchester United boss Joe Dunne said earlier this week that is 'unlikely' that O'Toole will feature in his immediate plans and the decision over whether or not to extend the loan spell now rests solely with the midfielder himself.
Ward said: "I've spoken to Joe Dunne and the decision is really down to John-Joe now. Joe has gone on record to say that John-Joe is unlikely to play if he goes back there, so Colchester are happy to let us keep him for the next couple of months with a 24 hour recall.
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"John-Joe has one more game with us and he knows I want to keep him. I'm hopeful that he will want to stay here and enjoy being part of a football club that is progressing."
Ward, meanwhile, took his number of transfer window signing to six this week with the additions of defender Clayton McDonald and striker Ryan Brunt.
The manager, however, has ended his pursuit of Stoke City midfielder Matthew Lund – but confirmed that he may still be in the market for one more player before the window closes.
A lot will depend on whether or not O'Toole decides to remain at the club, but Ward said: "I'm pleased with the business we have done so far, but I've got scope for one more possibly.
"We have to be a little bit careful in terms of keeping within the remit of our playing budget as well considering the wage cap rules imposed by the Football League.
"I'm still looking around, but it is important that you don't rush into the transfer market and get things wrong, so I haven't approached it with a semblance of panic.
"What I am happy about is the fact that we are certainly looking a bit stronger and more experienced around the football club than when I first came in."
Ward has also been boosted by the return of striker David Clarkson following a month-long absence because of an ankle injury and the manager added: "That's another bit of good news for us.
"The injury situation is certainly starting to clear up and I think there are only four or five players in the treatment room now. I'm working with a group of about 21 or 22 fit players at the moment and that gives me a lot of options."
Rovers, meanwhile, will train at Sheffield Wednesday on route to Rotherham tomorrow and are hopeful that the weather will allow a return to action for the first time in a fortnight following last weekend's postponement of their clash with Exeter City.
Rotherham officials are to clear snow off their pitch at the New York Stadium today, but are bracing themselves for further snow fall forecast for Friday night.
"I would have preferred to play quickly after winning the game at Fleetwood a couple of weeks ago, but we couldn't and the weather is out of my control," said Ward. "Will we lose the opportunity to build some momentum because we haven't played for two weeks? I can't answer that question until after we play on Saturday.
"It won't be easy to replicate the performance we produced at Fleetwood, but we have to work hard to try and get as close to that level as we possibly can."
Striker Eliot Richards is doubtful after missing training because of illness this morning, while Jim Paterson is also still sidelined with a hamstring complaint.