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Bristol Rovers injury latest ahead of Stevenage with top scorer set to return

Bristol Rovers injury latest ahead of Stevenage with top scorer set to return

Bristol Rovers are expected to welcome back Chris Martin and hopefully Jack Hunt too after one-game absences for their trip to Stevenage on Tuesday night and could have a third returnee available.

Martin was always going to make his return after missing Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Burton Albion through suspension after his red card against Fleetwood Town but there was some uncertainty over where Hunt was at after sustaining a concussion in the same game six days ago.

The right-back had to undergo necessary tests as is mandatory through concussion protocol which meant that a return in time for Saturday was too premature but the hope is that after a final scan today he will be given the green light to be involved at the Lamex Stadium.

Previewing Tuesday night’s game in the aftermath of the Burton loss, Matt Taylor revealed: “We welcome some freshness back in the form of Chrissy Martin, Jack Hunt and possibly one more on Tuesday and they are of a certain statute in this group. We’ve probably lost George [Friend] for Tuesday as well and I’m sure we’ll lose someone else.

“We still don’t know about Harvey [Vale]. That’s a little bit of a mystery and is out of our hands with Chelsea and rightly so. Potential for two, possibly three.

“We’ll assess the group and then pick a team that we feel are capable of really affecting the game and the outcome.”

Frustratingly for George Friend, the defender once again finds himself on the sidelines having only made his return from injury two weeks prior against Oxford United. The 36-year-old took a whack on the ankle in the first half against Burton and attempted to carry on but was moving too gingerly and was eventually withdrawn before half-time.

On Friend’s issue, Taylor added: “His ankle. He’s a tough boy. The fact that he had to come off suggests it’s a serious one. It’s pretty swollen. It’s the same ankle that he injured at Derby earlier this season.

“The scan will come in the next few days. Every day there’s a scan. Every single person you ask me the same question so I’m sure something will come out that we’re not quite expecting. Maybe that’s a reflection of the game and then the group we have.

“We need him because he makes a major difference on the pitch and we’re a weaker team without [him].”

Additionally, it’s still not quite clear where Harvey Vale is currently at ahead of Stevenage having unexpectedly missed the Burton defeat after a mystery issue.

The Chelsea loanee is amongst the highest ranking Rovers players this season for appearances as one of the limited few who has rarely picked up a problem serious enough to rule him out of a game and there was no evidence last Tuesday that he was struggling.

However, speaking pre-match on Saturday to BBC Radio Bristol, Taylor revealed that the 20-year-old had to spend Tuesday night and Wednesday in hospital with a serious pain.

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“A strange one with Harvey,” the Gas boss explained. “He spent Tuesday night in hospital post-game. He’s had a lot of tests since then and he seems fine in himself in terms of what has come off the back of it but he’s still not right to be involved in today’s squad.

“That’s what we’re thinking [something viral] but the pain was enough to take him into hospital and obviously he stayed there overnight and the following day so it was probably as serious as it could be without us knowing what it actually was but when it’s an internal pain like that all of the tests have to be run and rightly so.

“He’s still going to continue those tests away from us with Chelsea but at this point all of the tests have come back in a really positive sense so it might well be a viral illness or infection that has caused a reaction in some way but totally unexpected.”

Meanwhile, the likes of Sam Finley, Connor Taylor, Luke McCormick, Grant Ward and Jordan Rossiter are all expected to remain out. However, whether the third potential returnee the manager referred to was Vale or someone else was unclear although it hasn’t sounded like any of the aforementioned players are close enough to make their returns either tomorrow night or on Saturday at Northampton Town.

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