Bristol Rovers boss John Ward makes move to extend John-Joe O'Toole stay
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward has already made moves to keep on-loan midfielder John-Joe O'Toole beyond the end of the month.
The busy Colchester midfielder has become an instant favourite with supporters after arriving as one of Ward's first signings following his appointment to succeed former boss Mark McGhee last month.
O'Toole, who scored in the impressive 3-0 win over Fleetwood last weekend, is scheduled to remain at the Memorial Stadium until the end of January, but Ward told reporters at his Thursday morning press briefing: "Conversations are taking place with Colchester.
"John-Joe has come in and made an instant impact and we'd like to keep him, but we are third in line when it comes to a decision. John-Joe has to decide whether he wants to stay or not and then Colchester have to decide whether or not they want to take him back.
Windows looking dull, let us spruce you up for summer with our huge selection of blinds. We can help bring your windows to life.
Free measure and consultation. with no obligation to buy.
Contact: 0117 2443290
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"I would like to keep John-Joe, but we just have to wait and see where that takes us towards the end of the month."
The manager, meanwhile, has been working hard to boost his squad with new arrivals this week and remains hopeful that he may be able to add 'a new face or two' before Saturday's clash with Exeter City at the Memorial Stadium.
"I'm working hard to improve things on that front," said Ward. "I'm looking at trying to get a new face or two in before the weekend and I still hold out a little bit of hope that something may happen.
"The players I am talking to are also interesting other clubs and if they can get a contract at a team in the top half of our league, the chances are they will choose to go there instead.
"That's the situation I am fighting against at this moment in time, particularly with those I am trying to tie down on permanent contracts."
Talks are still on-going with Stoke City over the return of midfielder Matthew Lund, who is still to make a decision on exactly where his future lies after another club declared an interest in acquiring his services for a temporary spell.
Signing Fleetwood striker Steve Gillespie on loan remains a possibility, but Ward is believed to be keener on secure targets on permanent deals where at all possible.
"The loan market provides us with a bit of flexibility, but I can only have five of them anyway," he said.
Ward is, however, boosted by the returns of Joe Anyinsah and Fabian Broghammer from injury. David Clarkson remains doubtful for the clash with Paul Tisdale's side while Jim Paterson is also expected to be out after doing further damage to the hamstring problem that has sidelined him since Boxing Day.
Ward, meanwhile, hinted that he would make changes to the patched-up and youthful side that secured an impressive 3-0 win at Fleetwood last weekend when saying: "The young boys that came in off the bench did very well and enhanced their chances of further opportunity going forward.
"My experience tells me, however, that it is unlikely we are going to get that sort of level of performance from them week-in-and-week-out. I have to look after them in terms of protecting their futures as best I can by using them sensibly."
Covers were laid on the Memorial Stadium pitch on Tuesday morning in a bid to beat the current cold snap and Ward added: "The covers are on the pitch and if we can play then we'll play.
"I am preparing the players to play against a team that is in the top three of this division. I'm not talking about possibility of the game being off because that would have a negative effect on the focus of the group.
"The weather is out of my hands, but we are preparing as normal to play a team who have had some great results lately and are good enough to win automatic promotion.
"It is another tough test for us, but we've shown in the last couple of weeks that we can compete against some of the top team in this league so we shouldn't underestimate ourselves."