Bristol Rovers injury blow as Alfie Kilgour likely to miss rest of the season as no return date for Grant

Alfie Kilgour remains on the sidelines after his knee injury didn’t clear up. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)Alfie Kilgour remains on the sidelines after his knee injury didn’t clear up. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Alfie Kilgour remains on the sidelines after his knee injury didn’t clear up. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The Gas are likely to do without one of their key centre-backs for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury

Bristol Rovers defender Alfie Kilgour is likely to miss the rest of the season due to injury, it has been revealed by first-team boss Joey Barton.

The 23-year-old is unlikely to appear for the Gas again in the 2021/22 League Two campaign after suffering a setback on his road to recovery.

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Kilgour underwent surgery back in November and missed all of December’s matches before returning against Hartlepool United in mid January.

But after making a brief return to action, the defender’s knee reacted badly to the intensity of the match and as a result, he hasn’t been seen since, missing the last 12 matches.

The centre-back had been on the training pitches trying to step up his playing return but now his manager has revealed the latest on the defender’s status.

‘Alf is going to be out for pretty much the rest of the season,” revealed Barton after the defeat to Newport County on Saturday.

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“He’s gone back on his knee, there was something in his cartilage or something and it had to get tidied up.

“It’s going to be between six and 12 weeks but he’s finally got to the bottom of it. We kept him going and he played ninety minutes against Hartlepool albeit he had a bit of a turn. His knee didn’t really settle down, he went to see the specialists and did a bit of rehabilitation.

“He came back, did some running and didn’t settle down. He’s eventually required key hole surgery, seems to have got to the bottom of it but there’s a procedure you have to follow in terms of your return to play.

“Hopefully it’s sooner and he can be involved because he’s a top kid and he’s a Gashead.”

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Josh Grant hasn’t had a return date placed on him as he too suffers with a knee injury. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)Josh Grant hasn’t had a return date placed on him as he too suffers with a knee injury. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Josh Grant hasn’t had a return date placed on him as he too suffers with a knee injury. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images) | Getty Images

As well as Kilgour, another absentee is utility man Josh Grant, who has been out of action since early February after getting injured against Sutton United.

Last month, Barton revealed the 23-year-old had patellar tendinitis which is an injury around the knee bone and it had initially been thought to have been a niggle.

Grant though has not returned and has not featured in their last eight matches, though he was present at the 1-0 defeat in South Wales on Saturday.

“He’s disappointed at the minute as is Josh Grant but there’s no near to completion for a return from injury for Josh either.

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“It’s rumbling in the background, again it’s a little bit of a problem with his knee this time. He’s trying to get that settled, so hopefully we can get them back involved but at this moment in time, certainly with Alfie, it’s not been great news.”

The news that two of Rovers’ defensive options are a slight blow as both have their strengths and qualities and having more players available would allow Barton to rotate his side through the gruelling fixture backlog.

However other than the hopeful hiccup against Newport and Oldham, the team has been solid in the defensive area whilst the midfield is another part of the pitch where they have an abundance of options.

Before playing Newport they had recorded five clean sheets in their last six matches and in their last ten matches, they have only conceded five goals.

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In Kilgour’s case, loan duo Connor Taylor and James Connolly have built up a strong partnership, despite only coming together since January and holding a combined age of 41, quickly adapting to senior football.

But whilst there are still midweek fixtures pencilled in against Crawley Town tomorrow and Colchester United next Tuesday, rotation will still be a thing before Barton settles on his strongest team.

He said: “The team is bedding in a little bit now, it’s becoming a bit more familiar in terms of seven or eight players probably know where we’re gonna go in terms of the starting 11, such has been the way they’ve played and they’ve earned the jersey really.

“It’s up to the rest sometimes in these fixture congestion periods like we’re in now where you will show your depth a bit because bodies start creaking and it’s wise to do so.

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“We’ve still got a couple of weeks of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, so we must keep grinding to get through that period,” Barton added.

“After that it’s a bit more spaced out, I think we’ll start to see what we consider to be our strongest 11 on the pitch more often because the games at that point start to become really high stakes.

“We want a settled side that knows what we’re doing and we’ve benefited from that in recent weeks. If we’re gonna be successful we know the nature of the league and the fixture list, it’s going to be a real squad effort.”

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