Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton offers injury update as trio’s absence explained

The Gas’ injury problems have returned after three players missed the defeat to Derby

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Joey Barton believes the absence of seven Bristol Rovers players was a contributing factor behind their 4-2 defeat to Derby County at Pride Park.

The Gas boss had to make enforced changes with three players from their last match absent through injury. Ryan Loft and Harry Anderson both limped off against Sheffield Wednesday, whilst Lewis Gibson also missed out.

The 40-year-old believed the absence of the three players as well as the likes of Josh Grant, John Marquis and Paul Coutts who are on longer-term injuries was a contributing factor in the defeat.

Luca Hoole and Luke McCormick came into the starting XI from the midweek draw at Hillsborough for Gibson and Loft respectively. Both players have been limited to substitute roles in the unbeaten run with most of their match-time coming in the EFL Trophy.

"I think we suffered today,” said Barton to BBC Radio Bristol. “We’ve got seven players out, big players in our group.

“They are experienced and their manliness has stood us in good stead. To lose them today, I thought we were into lads who were a little bit short of confidence and that showed."

The trio which were absent at Pride Park aren’t expected to be sidelined for a considerable period but it did come as a blow. Rovers do not have a midweek match which allows for recovery time of those who missed out. Rochdale are up next for Rovers but both Loft and Gibson are doubts for that, as well as their final match before the World Cup, which is a home match against Fleetwood Town.

"He (Loft) just had a little bit of a tight groin after the push last week against Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday," Barton started pre-match to BBC Radio Bristol. "He was touch and go and he did join in training yesterday, but he never moved quite at the level we want and the last thing we want is to come here with players less than 100 percent.

"Lofty just felt his hamstring a little bit, so he’ll probably miss a couple of games, hopefully, and Gibbo might be the same, but they are not a million miles away.

"Harry felt his groin in the game at the back end. We had to take him out and he’s tweaked a bit of his groin, so it’s a bit of a blow.”