Bristol Rovers rocked by Cian Bolger injury blow
BRISTOL Rovers boss Mark McGhee may have to fast-track Garry Kenneth back into action after yesterday finding out that he will be without Cian Bolger, pictured, for at least three months.
McGhee admitted concerns over the former Dundee United defender's fitness earlier this week and pledged to put him on an intensive exercise programme in a bid to get the player back to somewhere near his best.
The manager believes it may well be Christmas before Kenneth is totally on top of his game – but yesterday confirmed he has recovered from the calf strain that has prevented him from playing in Rovers' last four games and will be generally fit enough to be considered for selection when Rovers travel to Exeter on September 29.
McGhee has the option of dipping into the loan market should he need to – but indicated yesterday he is likely to stick with the players he has at his disposal and that Adam Virgo, who has played at right-back in the last two games, will play in the centre of defence at least until Kenneth is considered fit enough for a return.
"Garry Kenneth is over his injury and needs to get fit and back into specific training specific as well as running," said McGhee.
"He isn't that far away, but I won't play him in any of our next three games as he's not quite ready, but I think he will be ready two weeks from Saturday.
"In the meantime, we will continue with Adam Virgo and Tom Parkes and make sure we work hard in front of them."
Bolger, who only arrived from Leicester City for a third loan spell on transfer deadline day, was carried off on a stretcher during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Aldershot – but McGhee was hopeful the knee injury would not prove to be a 'long-term problem' when asked about it afterwards.
The central defender, however, arrived for training on Monday with the aid of crutches and a scan has since confirmed Bolger has damaged his posterior cruciate ligament and will be out of action for at least three months of his six-month loan spell.
"I'm absolutely gutted for Cian," said McGhee. "The fact is I think he injured himself being as committed as we had asked him to be. He showed where his commitment lies, and it's a great shame for him to be out at this moment in time.
"The prognosis is he will be out for three months and we hope he will make a full recovery and be back playing by Christmas. He will go back to Leicester for his rehab and, hopefully, be back here before his loan period expires.
"He was going to be a really important player for us. We tried hard all summer to get him here and eventually managed to do that and, as everyone has seen, he has been absolutely brilliant in the short time he's been back with us."
Rovers have confirmed that ex-Bristol City fans' favourite Alan Walsh, pictured, has been appointed to replace Ken Oram as head of youth.
Walsh, who made over 300 appearances for City before undertaking a various positions on the coaching staff at Ashton Gate, will have responsibility for looking after the under-18s side with immediate effect.