Transfer deadline day ended at 11.00 tonight and the summer months have been exceptionally busy as far as Bristol Rovers have been concerned.
Manager Darrell Clarke has, slowly but surely, reshaped and rebuilt his squad to take on the challenges of playing League One football this season.
The manager had made three signings by the time his players reported back for pre-season training.
Experienced central defender Peter Hartley arrived at The Mem having previously captained Hartlepool, Stevenage and Plymouth in the Football League.
Following a Sunderland appearance as a New Year’s Day 2007 substitute against Leicester City, seven of his 12 games with Chesterfield were at Saltergate, prior to a return to the north east.
Reliable and consistent at the Victoria Ground, Hartley added goals during his spell at his hometown club, the first coming against Tranmere Rovers in October 2009 and the best, a volley, helping defeat Oldham Athletic on New Year’s Day 2011.
Hartley was Players’ Player of the Year in 2011/12 and League One Player of the Month for February 2013, when his place alongside James Poole amused commentators at Hartlepool matches.
Relegated from League One with Hartlepool and, despite goals against Port Vale and Crawley Town, Stevenage in successive seasons preceded two fruitful campaigns at Home Park. Vocal and with a determined attitude and committed displays, as he was described at Plymouth, his last gasp far post header defeated Portsmouth in the League Two play off semi final of May 2016 and Hartley’s final contribution in an Argyle shirt was to appear in the 2-0 defeat at Wembley, in the League Two play off final, which saw Wimbledon promoted.
Peter made his Rovers debut on the opening day of the current season, in a 3-1 defeat at Scunthorpe and scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw against Southend on 20th August 2016.
Experienced wingman Byron Moore was Rovers’ second signing of the 2016 close season, as the side looked to establish itself in League One.
His career had begun with an August 2007 Crewe début against Brighton, before he scored seven times in 15 Northern Premier League matches at Kidsgrove.
Thereafter, despite relegation from League One in 2008/09, he accumulated a large number of League appearances with Alexandra, playing alongside Steve Phillips, Billy Bodin and Nathan Ellington and appearing against Rovers in five League fixtures.
The 2010/11 season had offered a range of odd scores in the League, Moore playing as Crewe beat Barnet 7-0 that August and Cheltenham Town 8-1 in April, as well as scoring in the 5-5 draw at Chesterfield that October.
An apparent paucity of goals preceded contributing the second at Wembley in May 2012, as Cheltenham Town were defeated in the League Two play off final. He also added two assists at the same venue, as Southend United were defeated 2-0 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final in April 2013 and scored two first half goals in the League encounter at home to Swindon Town that campaign.
In two seasons with Port Vale, he contributed four goals in 51 games.
Although he impressed in pre-season games, an injury sustained on the training ground means he is still waiting to make his senior debut for the club.
A Sunderland supporter with a BTEC in Sport from East Durham College, Luke James joined Rovers with a glowing reputation as an attack minded young player of great potential.
Following a December 2011 debut against Colchester United, his 25 yard volley the following month against Rochdale was voted Hartlepool's Goal of the Season and rendered him, at 17 years 64 days, the club's youngest ever League goalscorer.
Following this with a brace against Carlisle United, he was the Football League's Apprentice of the Month for December 2011, League One Apprentice of the Year for 2012/13, League Two Player of the Month in October 2013 and United's Player of the Year for 2013/14. That campaign, after relegation in 2013, he was the side's top scorer and left for Peterborough, where he scored in a
2-0 win at Doncaster in March 2015 as well as a Football League Trophy tie against Orient.
He had scored against both Bradford and Rovers prior to his loan spells, having scored both goals for Pool in a September 2013 encounter; he was also in their side which defeated Rovers 4-0 in March 2014. With just two yellow cards to his name in all, James was signed by the former Hartlepool midfielder Darrell Clarke, on a season long loan from Peterborough, to add to Rovers' potent attack following double promotion.
Luke made his Rovers debut when going on as a substitute against Oxford United in August 2016.
With two caps for the Netherlands at U-15 level as well as U-16 and U-17 representation, goalkeeper Kelle Roos came to English football with a strong reputation.
Tall, dominant and a powerful kicker, he had initially joined PSV at the age of 13 after playing for three separate clubs in Nijmegen. He conceded just six goals in nine Conference matches with Nuneaton Town, his five clean sheets including one on his début against Chester City.
Another clean sheet marked his first start with Derby County, five cup ties proving the extent of his experience before he was sent out on various loan spells.
Roos conceded ten goals for bottom of the table Championship side Rotherham United, but enjoyed far more success with AFC Wimbledon, where he played against Rovers at The Mem in March 2016 and at Wembley two months later, as his side defeated Plymouth Argyle 2-0 in the play off final to join Rovers in promotion to League One.
Kelle joined Rovers, on a season long loan, on 24th August 2016 and made his debut three days later, in a League One match against Swindon Town. However that match was abandoned after an hour, due to a waterlogged pitch, with the score at 0-0.
Clarke’s steady strengthening of his side continued with the recruitment of full back Connor Roberts in a six month loan deal.
Roberts arrived at The Memorial Stadium on 24th August 2016 and the young Welshman came with a glowing reputation from Yeovil Town, where he had spent a season on loan, playing twice against Rovers and excelling in a defence which held firm as the season progressed to ensure the Glovers were not dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Roberts was named as the club’s Player of the Year as well as earning a Welsh U-21 cap against Romania in March 2016 to add to a solitary appearance for the Wales U-19 side.
Formerly alongside another Rovers loanee, Oliver McBurnie, at Swansea Roberts will compete for a first team spot with full/wing backs Daniel Leadbitter and Lee Brown.
As you know, three more players arrived today, bringing the number of summer signings up to eight, six of whom are with us on loan.
Today’s three additions, just to recap, are; Chelsea duo Jake Clarke-Salter and Charlie Colkett as well Hiram Boateng from Crystal Palace.
Defender Clarke-Salter joined The Blues in 2006 and first played for their U-18 side in December2013 when only 16 years old.
An England U-18 and U-19 international, he went on to skipper Chelsea’s U-18 side and was a member of the side that won the FA Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth League. He has made one appearance for Chelsea’s first team, against Aston Villa on 2nd April this year.
Midfielder Colkett, a team mate of Salter’s joined the Stamford Bridge outfit as an 11 year old and made his U-18 debut when just 15 years old.
He has been capped by England at every level up to U-20 and was regular in Chelsea’s side in 2014/15. He was also a member of the FA Youth Cup winning sides and a recent skipper of the UEFA Youth League side, and was an unused substitute for Chelsea’s game against Swansea in April this year, the month he signed a new three year deal with the club.
Boateng already has league experience, having spent time on loan at both Crawley and Plymouth Argyle.
A member of the Crystal Palace Academy from the age of eight, he graduated through the ranks at Selhurst Park and made his first team debut in a third round FA Cup replay against Stoke City in January 2013.
His league debut for Palace came against Swansea in February of this year by which time he had already spent time out on loan, playing once for Crawley Town back in March 2014 and 16 games for Plymouth Argyle in the first half of the 2015/16 campaign.
He played for Argyle against Rovers at Home Park last season, but his first spell with the club was cut short by injury. However he returned to Argyle for a second loan spell in March this year and appeared in a further eight league games and the League Two play off semi finals and final.
In terms of departures, only four players have moved on, and only two of them on a permanent basis.
Former skipper Tom Parkes left for Leyton Orient after making 190 appearances, in all competitions, for The Gas.
Young goalkeeper Kieran Preston also departed BS7 in the summer, having failed to make a first team appearance, and two more players have gone out on loan since the season began.
Jake Gosling and Jamie Lucas will stay on loan at Cambridge United and Boreham Wood respectively until January 2017.