Joey Barton explains Tristan Crama Bristol Rovers absence as extent of George Friend injury revealed

Two players had been missing from Bristol Rovers’ squad in their 3-1 defeat to West Ham - and Joey Barton reveals why.

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Bristol Rovers are set to be without George Friend and Tristan Crama for a ‘couple of week’s revealed manager Joey Barton.

Brentford loanee Crama could be seen at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night on crutches, and his knee was in a strap. He was an unused substitute in the win against Shrewsbury Town on the weekend, having made five starts in seven league games.

Fellow summer signing Friend meanwhile was substituted for Josh Grant in just the seventh minute and now the extent of his injury has been revealed. The 35-year-old had only returned to action recently having suffered a knock in pre-season.

“They’ve picked up little knocks so we’re currently assessing them,” said Barton to BBC Radio Bristol before kick-off against West Ham.

“George looks like he is going to miss a couple of weeks. Tristan we’re waiting back on some results from a scan but it could be a couple of weeks as well.”

In George Friend’s absence, Lewis Gordon made a return to the match-day squad as he started. The 22-year-old played against Cheltenham Town in the EFL trophy but had missed out the last three squads in the league.

Luca Hoole was also given a start at centre-back, making his first appearance for Rovers since the 2-0 defeat to Cambridge United in mid-August.

He missed the win over Cheltenham because he was on international duty with Wales’ under-21’s, and like Gordon had not made the last three league squads.

Friend’s injury is likely to keep Gordon in the starting 11, but for Hoole there is depth in that area with Connor Taylor able to play that role, however James Wilson was brought off at half-time though that was to rest him for the weekend.

“We knew the squad would be tested certainly as the games come thick and fast,” he admitted.

“It is unfortunate we’ve picked up a couple of knocks from the weekend or the back end of training last week.

“It’s disappointing for those boys because they’ve been superb but the strength and the depth we’ve got in our squad shows what quality we’ve got.

“As sad as it is for George to pick up a knock and Tristan has picked up a knock there is now opportunities for someone who has been chomping at the bit.”

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