We need more experience, admits Bristol Rovers boss
MARK McGhee will consider fast-tracking Gary Kenneth back in to the starting line-up for tomorrow's night's game at Plymouth and is also hopeful of adding an experienced striker to his squad in an effort to overcome Bristol Rovers' slump.
The Pirates remain winless after being beaten 4-0 at Gillingham on Saturday, after which McGhee admitted he may have placed "too much faith" in what is essentially a very young squad.
The manager confirmed afterwards that Kenneth could be considered for a first competitive start for the club at Home Park, almost a fortnight ahead of schedule after making "vast improvements" in his general fitness towards the end of last week.
The Post also understands McGhee has made an approach to an unnamed club in a bid to recruit an experienced striker on loan after Matt Harrold left Priestfield on crutches, having been withdrawn with a knee problem in the 34th minute.
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"It did look a little like men against boys," said McGhee.
"I'm making comparisons between us and Gillingham at the end of the game and you only need to look to see we had nine players on the pitch who are all of an age that you wouldn't consider as being men in football terms.
"They are of an age where they are looking around for a bit of help and guidance and maybe I need to question whether or not I've put too much faith in so many of these young players.
"Too many of them are coming up short at this moment in time, but it is my decision to put them out there on the pitch at the end of the day, so a lot of the responsibility lies with me."
McGhee was critical of the defensive lapses in the opening exchanges, which saw his side concede two goals to effectively render the game over as a contest before half-time.
Tom Parkes conceded a penalty that was converted by Danny Kedwell after only four minutes, before the striker doubled his tally with a near-post header from a long throw before 15 minutes had elapsed.
"You're always going to struggle away from home if you concede goals as early and as cheaply as we did," said McGhee.
"We'd gave ourselves an almost impossible task inside 15 minutes against a team that was top of the league. I don't really know how much deeper we can look beyond the first 15 minutes to find reasons why we lost the game.
He added: "I do not feel I have a back four that is capable of keeping clean sheets at the moment and that is a worry for me. We're improvising and I can't really do any more than try and find the right combination with the players we have got.
"We'll work hard in training to try and make ourselves harder to beat, but until I have the likes of Garry and Danny (Woodards) back. I can't see us keeping a clean sheet."
McGhee last week targeted the trip to Exeter on October 29 as a possible return date for summer signing Kenneth after expressing concerns over his general fitness early last week.
"I'd initially decided to bring the date forward and have Garry available for selection for next Saturday (against Fleetwood), but maybe I'll have to do it even quicker than that," said McGhee.
"He did a lot of running around the training ground towards the end of last week and I was really pleased with the improvements he has made. I'll have another look at him again on Monday morning and then I'll make a decision. Garry is desperate to play but I have to be a little bit careful because I don't want to rush him back too quickly only for him to get injured again."