Aaron Downes could still have a future at Bristol Rovers, says Mark McGhee
MARK McGhee has hinted that Aaron Downes could still have a future with Bristol Rovers – despite the injury that may keep him out for the rest of the season.
The Chesterfield central defender impressed during an initial six-game loan spell with the Pirates, which persuaded the club to extend the deal until the end of the season.
The 26-year-old Australian then suffered a knee injury which could keep him sidelined for the rest of the campaign, although boss McGhee has made it known that may not be the end of Downes' spell at the Memorial Stadium.
"He's impressed me already, so the thing now is to take stock between now and the end of the season – see how he feels and see how we feel," said McGhee. "We will look at it and there's no point in starting talking about it now. But a fit Aaron Downes would do for me."
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Downes, pictured, played a key part in improved defensive displays in recent weeks.
After conceding 14 goals in the last four games of Paul Buckle's reign, Rovers have since let in only two in their last four League Two outings and taken ten points from 12 ahead of Saturday's home clash with Morecambe.
"Since I have been here, Shaun North and I have tried to instil a defensive attitude that doesn't just apply to the back four, but starts with the strikers," said McGhee.
"They have to look to stop the other team from playing out, and the midfield need to be set up in a way that protects the back four.
"The back four and the keeper have played well and we have only conceded two goals in four matches, which is not bad and gives you a chance of winning games."
McGhee added two players to the squad before last week's transfer deadline, agreeing a loan deal for young Stoke City midfielder Matthew Lund and signing defender Jim Paterson until the end of the season.
"I've seen Matthew in training and was delighted with what I saw – the way he moves and passes the ball. His enthusiasm and the type of lad he is exactly what we want here," said McGhee.
"But he comes into an area of the pitch where there is already competition with Craig Stanley, Andy Dorman, Matt Gill and Lee Brown.
"That is not to say there's no opportunity for him, but first he has to prove he is better than the people who are already here. Equally, it gives us options in the way we can play."
McGhee hopes Dorman – who has had his loan spell from Crystal Palace extended until the end of the season – can chip in with goals over the weeks ahead.
"I started with Andy further forward against Bradford, although an early injury to Danny Woodards meant I had to bring him back again, so I didn't really get the chance to see it working," said McGhee. "But I think we can get more goals out of him and I want to give him more opportunity as an attacking midfielder."