Bristol Rovers rocked by Parkes blow after defender is badly injured
BRISTOL Rovers' season went from bad to worse last night after defender Tom Parkes left Vale Park with a suspected broken ankle.
The defender was left writhing in pain on the turf after a robust challenge and was immediately taken to hospital after leaving the pitch on a stretcher as a patched up Rovers side suffered a 4-0 defeat.
McGhee said last night: "We think Tom has fractured his ankle. He's gone off to the hospital in a splint and we fear the worst.
"The amount of serious injuries we've had this year has been absolutely unbelievable and you wonder where it will all end.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"I was looking forward to having all the players back and available next week and now it looks as though we may lose one of our better ones for a significant period of time."
McGhee saw his side effectively lose the game by half-time as two goals from Port Vale striker Tom Pope and another from Ben Williamson offered Micky Adams' side a 3-0 half-time lead.
Pope completed his hat-trick in the second-half to wrap up a 4-0 success and McGhee admitted: "Too many of the players were not flat out in the first-half and that is why we were 3-0 down before half-time.
There are probably only a handful of players who got started and that was hugely disappointing.
"The three goals before half-time were a manifestation of the overall performance – it just wasn't good enough.
"We had too many people out there that let us down in a sense. They didn't contribute enough in the early part of the game and that is a worry for me.
He added: "We also had six clear-cut goalscoring chances and we still couldn't score. It's disappointing because we've got good finishers and they practice it every day and when it came down to a game situation none of them could score and that is a worry as well."
One positive for McGhee to consider was the performance of youth-team winger Alfie Santos, 17, who was offered a surprise debut off the bench and the manager said: "I think he did really well when he came on and deserves another opportunity."
McGhee has confirmed he will be without ASEAN Football Championships-bound goalkeeper Neil Etheridge for at least the next fortnight.
The Philippines international is scheduled to leave for Thailand later today to participate in the tournament, which takes place between Novemeber 22 and December 24. He definitely misses Saturday's clash with Bradford City at the Memorial Stadium, as well as the following week's game against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park.
Etheridge, who has won 38 caps for the country of his mother's birth, had initially decided against making the trip in order to help Rovers climb the table over the coming weeks – but has been persuaded to change his mind after seeking advice from Fulham number one Mark Schwarzer and then holding talks with the Philippines Football Association earlier this week.
McGhee, however, is already in advanced talks with Fulham over the possibility of extending his loan spell until the end of the season and is hopeful a deal can be concluded.
McGhee said: "Neil has decided that he will go and represent the Philippines at the ASEAN Football Championships because I think he feels under pressure from his own conscience.
"I think he has also had a word with Mark Schwarzer about it and has been advised that he should take the opportunity of playing in what is a major international tournament.
"It will be good for his development, but he'll miss the next two games at least and it could be more if Philippines make further progress in the tournament."
McGhee, who will now offer on-loan Chelsea stopper Sam Walker a chance to stake his claim over the next couple of weeks.
McGhee hopes Cian Bolger will return to the club next Wednesday in time to be considered for the clash at Wycombe on December 1. The on-loan defender is expected to play in two practice games for parent club Leicester over the weekend after a three-month absence with a knee injury.