Aston Villa starlet hailed as Bristol Rovers star rues ex-Rangers man’s absence

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Bogarde and Ward have held the fort since Finley has been suspended

Sam Finley has praised teammates Grant Ward and Lamare Bogarde who have played in his and Jordan Rossiter's absence for Bristol Rovers in recent weeks.

The 30-year-old has been missing from action for the last three games, with January signings Lamare Bogarde and Grant Ward taking Finley’s place in the Rovers midfield. He has been suspended after being charged for violent conduct against MK Dons after the match had concluded.

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It has been a less than ideal start for the Gas new boys, with both yet to win as Joey Barton’s have lost five out of their last six games. In the winless run that now stretches back to the start of January, Rovers’ only point came against third place Ipswich Town - a result which ended a run of four successive defeats.

“It’s tough for them because they’ve come in and we haven’t been winning games,” Finley said. For new lads coming into the team and when it’s not necessarily their fault, coming into a team that is struggling there is not much that they can do.”

“I’ve seen them in training and I’ve seen them in games. I think they are very good additions to the football club but it’s tough when the squad is on the run that we are on and they’re getting added into that. There is no blame on them personally, but there’s not much you can do.”

A big loss in the middle of the park for the Gas has been Jordan Rossiter. The midfielder played alongside Finley under Joey Barton at Fleetwood and has been out of the Rovers squad since December. His absence has coincided with a slump in form with a change in personnel in the centre of the park.

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Barton admitted that Rossiter looked set to miss the vast majority of the rest of the season. The best case scenario will be that the former Liverpool youngster can return for the final few games of the season, but the coaching staff are currently working on the basis that he will not play a part again this season.

Finley said: “I think he is a massive miss and he’s totally different to everyone we’ve got in other midfielders at the football club when it comes to breaking up play and protecting the back four.”

“Grant Ward has come in and done a good job, Couttsy (Paul) is similar, he’s more of a ball-player rather than Jordy.”

Paul Coutts has also been absent recently, missing two games with illness before making a substitute appearance in his side’s last game against Cambridge. The midfield additions of Bogarde and Ward added squad depth, however the Gas don’t have a like for like replacement for Rossiter and seem to be missing him with their form taking a turn since the New Year.

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He added: “Wardy’s come in and he’s a bit of both, he’s a ball-playing number four as we call it, he can mix it about and get about the pitch and cover some distance.

“Jordy’s a massive miss, I’ve played with him at Fleetwood and he was brilliant there at protecting the back four but bhat can we do?

“He’s injured for the rest of the season, we can’t dwell on that. We’ve got to just improve as a team and try and turn out results.”

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