Portsmouth agitator Joey Barton doesn't hold back in scathing outburst aimed at Bristol Rovers player

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Pompey agitator Joey Barton stooped to a new low after labelling one of his players an ‘idiotic young boy’ following Bristol Rovers’ 2-0 defeat to Peterborough.

The Gas boss – who has riled Blues supporters with his outspoken comments in recent seasons – rounded on winger Luke Thomas for his role in the Posh’s second goal at London Road on Saturday.

In his post-match interview, Barton lambasted the former Barnsley and Coventry player – who was struggling with a hamstring injury – for pressing the ball too high and leaving his team-mate exposed at the back.

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And he insisted 14th-placed Rovers would not get promotion from League One until he is able to ‘eradicate these weak, feeble-minded individuals’ from his squad.

Thomas was signed by Barton in the summer on a free transfer, after spending last season on loan at the Memorial Stadium.

The Peterborough Telegraph report the 41-year-old as saying: ‘Their first goal was a deflected hit that went through a crowd of bodies and our keeper had no chance.

‘Then to compound it, one idiotic young boy – I can’t even call him a man – has compromised the team with his behavioural standards and we find ourselves 2-0 down with a mountain to climb.

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‘I can’t fault the other 10 players or the lads that came off the bench because they kept plugging away and kept pushing.

Bristol Rovers manager Joey BartonBristol Rovers manager Joey Barton
Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton

‘Unless we man up – and I know you have to be careful saying that in the modern era – and absolutely eradicate these weak, feeble-minded individuals that are currently inside our unit, we won’t get promoted out of this division.

‘Luke reported his hamstring was tight one minute before we were going out. He got told to test it and said “no, I’m fine”.

‘The ball is down his side and he said his hamstring has gone so we were about to make a substitution.

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‘But, in his infinite wisdom, he goes to press the ball and completely exposes Jack Hunt.

‘We should do better after that, but we find ourselves 2-0 down – all because someone hasn’t got the mindset required to make the correct call to keep the team strong.

‘I’m frustrated, disappointed and gutted for the travelling fans who came in their numbers and I think anyone who has been here today will see we were more than a match for Peterborough.

‘We didn’t get that little bit of luck and we were sabotaged from within with an idiotic decision by Luke.’

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Thomas has featured 12 times for Rovers this season, scoring twice ang registering one assist. His outing against Peterborough was his ninth start in the league.

The Gas, who opened their 2023-24 campaign with a 1-1 draw against Pompey at Fratton Park, are currently 10 points behind John Mousinho’s league leaders but have played a game less.

Barton missed his side’s season-opener as he served a three-match stadium ban following an incident after Rovers’ 2-1 League One loss to Sheffield Wednesday on April 18.

On his last appearance at Fratton Park, the former Newcastle and Manchester City midfielder infuriated Pompey fans for his criticism of the Blues’ tactics under Danny Cowley and the then-Pompey boss’ playing credentials.

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His comments followed a 3-1 defeat – a game that saw eight yards produced and Gas midfielder Glenn Whelan escape red for a challenge that broke Louis Thompson’s leg.

Pompey travel to Bristol Rovers on Boxing Day.