Bristol Rovers turn to Guy Branston as they battle the injury crisis
Bristol Rovers boss Mark McGhee has enlisted the services of experienced central defender Guy Branston in a bid to plug the gaps caused by a worsening injury crisis yesterday.
The under-fire manager confirmed yesterday morning that he only had nine first-team players fit to train ahead of tomorrow's crunch clash against Bradford City at the Memorial Stadium.
David Clarkson, Matthew Lund, Joe Anyinsah, Fabian Broghammer and Danny Woodards were amongst the players to join long-term absentees Matt Harrold and Cian Bolger in the treatment room yesterday.
Defender Tom Parkes is also expected to be out for a number of weeks with an ankle injury sustained in the 4-0 defeat at Port Vale on Tuesday night, which has prompted McGhee to turn to experienced Aldershot defender Branston on loan until January 1 in a bid to revive Rovers' ailing fortunes.
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"We find ourselves with a catalogue of injuries to centre halves this season," said McGhee. "First it was Garry Kenneth, then Cian Bolger and now Tom Parkes, and we felt that we couldn't keep on improvising.
"We need another centre half even though Cian is on his way back to us, and Tom will not be out for as long as we thought. Guy is a very experienced centre half at this level. He is a straight forward uncompromising player, who competes well, and I think he will do a good job for us."
McGhee, meanwhile, continues to be bullish over his chances of turning Rovers' season around after Tuesday night's defeat left his side two points off the foot of League Two.
Chairman Nick Higgs was asked to back his manager in the days following and McGhee said: "We're all of the same mind. We feel we are better than we are showing.
"We are in a very difficult position with results, but I honestly think that it is still all there for us. I am in constant contact with the chairman.
"He has been disappointed with recent performances, as have I, and it is something we have discussed. There is not much that we don't agree on, so we are working together in an effort to bring about an improvement.
He added: "Pleasing the fans is absolutely at the top of my priorities because that is essentially why we are all in a job here.
"I will always try and do the absolute best I can for those supporters. Every time we lose a game, regardless of the circumstances, it leaves me hugely embarrassed."
The manager was critical of the performance of 'three or four' players who 'let me down' at Vale Park on Tuesday night – and he will demand immediate improvement tomorrow.
"When one or two of the players let you down then ultimately that responsibility comes back to me. If certain players don't do as well as they should then people will look at me and say it is my fault.
"I fully accept that responsibility, but what I won't accept are players who are not willing to give me 100 per cent every time they go out on the pitch."