Barton took charge of the relegation-threatened Bristol Rovers in February 2021 but failed to prevent his side from getting relegated to League Two.


The 40-year-old manager guided the Gas back to League One last year after a 7-0 victory over Scunthorpe United on the last day, which gave Bristol Rovers the five goals they needed to pass Northampton Town and climb into third place to seal promotion.



After Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat against Ipswich Town, Bristol Rovers sit in 18th place, two places above the relegation zone with eight points from eight matches.


Barton pointed out the gap between Ipswich Town and his side while stressing that Kieran McKenna’s side have players capable of playing in the Championship.



The Bristol Rovers manager acknowledged that his squad are not yet prepared to compete with top League One teams like Ipswich and emphasised the need to lay the groundwork for the future this season.


“We’ve got to remember what we’re doing this year”, Barton was quoted saying by Bristol Live.



“The reality is at this moment I wish we could compete with Ipswich and the like, but when they’re dropping £1.5million on a left-back and £800,000 here, they’ve got two teams in effect who are maybe players above the level, players who could get Championship moves.


“It does show the reality of where we are now.


“We never came to a stadium like this last season in League Two and we’ve got to build blocks of our team.”


Barton’s side will entertain Mark Kennedy’s Lincoln City on Saturday and will be motivated to end their five-game winless drought against The Imps.