Player and manager on today's news
Midfielder John-Joe O’Toole was delighted to be able to finalise his three year contract with the club this morning.
“It was brilliant to get everything finalised. I did take my time in deciding what would be the best direction for me, so I’m glad that everything has been completed and I’m looking forward to getting back out on the training ground.
“It was a big decision for me. If you are going to sign a three year contract you have to make sure that its right for you and your career.
“I think I’ll have a lot more opportunities of first team football here and that’s what I need at this point in my career.
“Rovers are a big club, and I think it’s going places, and the gaffer is improving things all the time.”
Having spent time on loan here last season, when he scored three goals in 18 league appearances, he’s back in familiar surroundings with players and supporters he knows well.
“I know what I’m coming to. I have been getting a lot of love from the fans and that always helps. I’ll do my best for them, the club, and myself.”
It would be fair to say that dropping down to League Two wasn’t high on his agenda, though!
“I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t think Rovers were going to move up the leagues.
No disrespect to League Two, but I don’t want to be playing at this level for any longer than I have to. I want to be playing League One or Championship football and, hopefully one day, Premiership.
“There’s a good group of talented players here. They all have a strong work ethic, and I’m looking forward to pushing on with them now.”
His manager was equally delighted to have finally secured his major summer transfer target.
“They say that patience a virtue and there was always a chance that6 if we waited we would be able to bring JJ here.
“He wanted to play at a higher level and I fully respect that, but we have tried to persuade him that this is a club that can offer him that one day.
“He has ambitions, so do I, and so does the club and we have to try to fulfill them together.”
Supporters are well aware of the type of player the club is getting.
“The bottom line is that the fans know what JJ can offer them. They see him as one of their own. He came and put his heart on his sleeve and worked really hard for the cause last season, and the cause is no different this season. In fact, we are trying to improve matters and that’s something that impressed JJ.
“JJ knew that I wanted him to come back, and that the fans wanted him to come back. “However I respected the fact that he wanted to play at a higher level of football, which is good. The fact that he talks openly and honestly about that does let people know that, because he wants that, then he’s going to work hard for it here.”
The club has offered JJ a three year contract, something not readily agreed these days.
“I think it shows a commitment from all sides. He wanted a three year deal and so we talked about it. My Chairman has backed the move, so everything has been very positive, from the player to the manager to the Chairman and now we just need to make it work.”
Interviews with John-Joe and John Ward are now available on Gas Player