Bristol Rovers: Conor Gough will be given a chance
BRISTOL Rovers manager Mark McGhee has offered young goalkeeper Conor Gough an opportunity to stake a claim to start the season as his first-choice stopper.
McGhee yesterday confirmed that senior goalkeeper Scott Bevan is unlikely to be fit in time for the start of the campaign at Ipswich on August 14 after undergoing surgery for a wrist injury in early May.
That leaves McGhee with only Gough, pictured, to call on should he decide against bringing in another goalkeeper on loan until Bevan's expected return at the start of September.
"We thought Scott's recovery period was going to be around 10-12 weeks," said McGhee. "It now looks as though it may be 12 to 14 weeks, so it does mean he will miss start of the season.
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"It is something we'll have to look at as we go through the pre-season period, but the first thing we are going to do is test Conor and see how he stands up to it.
"We need to find out whether he could cope and is ready before we rush out and get someone else. We'll make sure that by the start of the season we'll have someone who is ready to cope, whether that is Conor or not."
Gough, 18, was signed on a two-year deal from Charlton at the end of last season and made his senior debut in the 4-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge on the final day of the season.
McGhee, meanwhile, has revealed that he has offered wideman Joe Anyinsah a chance to force his way into his thoughts ahead of the new season. Anyinsah was told it would be in his best interests to find a new club towards the tail-end of last season shortly after being a substituted substitute during the 2-2 draw at Torquay. The former Bristol City wideman, however, has returned for pre-season and has been told the door is open for him to play a part in Rovers' bid to win promotion out of League Two.
"Joe was one of the two or three boys I spoke to at the end of last season, who I felt were going to be surplus to requirements," said McGhee. "One of the things I did say to them all was that it wasn't impossible they would be back with us for pre-season because they were all under contract and that is what has happened with Joe.
"I did inform Joe that it was in his best interests to consider moving on at the end of last season, but that if he was to come back here then he would be given the same chance as everybody else.
"Joe has come back here and has got his head down and is training really, really well.
"He is getting on with it right now, but in order to change my opinion on what part he has to play he has got work to do.
"He knows that and it is up to him now, but he will be given the opportunity to prove to us that there is a place here for him."