Bristol Rovers hit by sickness bug as Joey Barton reveals extent of illness in squad

Bristol Rovers travel to Bolton Wanderers on Friday but face being without several players due to illness.

Bristol Rovers are currently dealing with a bout of illness that could affect their squad availability for their match against Bolton Wanderers. The Gas had problems against Boreham Wood last week and now more could miss their League One fixture.

Jordan Rossiter and Ryan Loft were absent from the FA Cup defeat on Sunday. Sam Finley came on at half-time, despite Barton’s initial plan of only wanting to use him for 20 minutes. Zain Westbrooke - not a prominent member of the first-team was also down with illness.

Two players have now become doubts for Rovers’ trip to the University of Bolton Stadium on Friday evening. Back-up goalkeeper Anssi Jaakola is a doubt, as is Ryan Loft, who only made his return to action after a hamstring problem last week.

“We lost Lofty this morning,” he said. “It’s gone through fifty-sixty percent of the group. Some have not been able to come in for a few days.

“It tends to be bad for 24-48 hours and then it grumbles on for five to six days. We’ve obviously lost John Marquis and Zain Westbrooke on Sunday morning. There are about five or six others with sniffles and coughs but it hasn’t quite got them as bad.

“Hopefully we’re out of it, the only one who can’t come in today was Ryan Loft. He went down last night and Jordy (Jordan Rossiter) is just coming out of the cycle. He should be involved or in contention for Friday but he hasn’t trained with the group as of yet.”

A decision was taken to reschedule the match to Friday in September. It was based on whether it would clash with England playing a World Cup round-of-sixteen match on Saturday. Gareth Southgate’s side finished top of their group, beating Wales 3-0 in their final game, and will instead play Africa Cup of Nation winners Senegal next Sunday.

The rearrangement of the fixture has meant one less day of recovery and that could mean that the match against Bolton could come too soon. The training ground has had fewer Rovers players this week who have been recovering at home.

Barton explained: “John Marquis who was ruled out for Sunday’s game, he trained on Friday and he was fine and then Sunday he was gone. He still couldn’t train today. It might last that long for Lofty so it might make him doubt the game Friday.

“Sam Finley felt a bit better. I didn’t want him to play forty-five minutes but needs must. He (Rossiter) hasn’t trained today but he’s saying he feels a lot better. He’s done a bit of work today albeit he hasn’t joined in with the group. I think he’ll be okay.”