Former Celtic and Crystal Palace midfielder Joe Ledley is training with Bristol Rovers and has been in discussions to join the Gas, Bristol Live reports.
The 34-year-old Welsh international was also in attendance at the League One sides’ 3-1 win against Portsmouth on Tuesday, watching the come-from-behind victory from the East Stand of Bristol’s Memorial Stadium.
Ledley has not played competitively since leaving A-League side Newcastle Jets back in August but has reportedly impressed on the training ground. Since he is a free agent, Ledley is available to join Rovers even though the transfer window is closed.
Joe Ledley Training With Bristol Rovers
Ledley Could Be Key in Relegation Scrap
The Gas currently sit 18th in the League One table and are just two points above the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand. Rovers also have one free spot in their squad after losing Abu Ogogo and Josh Barrett to injury.
While signing an attacker had been the priority of the club, the injuries leave a dearth of available talent and only one veteran in midfield.
Close observers of the club believe that Ledley’s combined decade-and-a-half experience in the Premier League, Scottish Premiership and Championship would be invaluable as Rovers seek to stay in the third tier of English football for a sixth successive season.
Ahead of Saturday’s visit to Gillingham, caretaker manager and Director of Football, Tommy Widdrington, told Bristol Live that the club was exploring its options in the free-agent market.
“We keep trying to turn over rocks and find things that other people wouldn’t find, but that’s a difficult thing to do,” Widdrington said. “With contacts and historical knowledge, we’re aware of one or two people who may be available to us, but it’s got to be the right fit.
“It’s an option we’ll keep open,” he added. “If the managerial situation changes, then that person will have a say in that.”
The Move Makes Sense for Ledley Too
On a personal level, the move would make sense for Ledley, whose family is based nearby in the south of Wales.
The left-winger, turned central midfielder, has been described as a terrific engine in the midfield, with a high work rate. He is also known as a physical player, two beneficial traits for any team in a relegation scrap.
Perhaps most importantly for Rovers, Ledley is no stranger to pressure, having won three consecutive Premiership titles with Celtic and a Scottish Cup. He also reached the finals of the 2007/08 FA Cup with Cardiff City.
During Euro 2016, Ledley was a key member of the Welsh squad that topped Group B and made it to the semi-finals. Ledley started five of the six matches.
He is also no stranger to relegation battles, having helped Cardiff avoid the drop by four points in the 2004/05 Championship and playing a role in keeping Crystal Palace afloat in the 2015/16 Premier League campaign. Furthermore, he has never been relegated.