Reason for James Wilson’s half-time Bristol Rovers withdrawal explained

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Bristol Rovers lost 3-1 to West Ham United and one of their key players was subbed off at half-time at the Memorial Stadium.

Joey Barton has eased Bristol Rovers fans fears after James Wilson was substituted in their 3-1 defeat to West Ham United in midweek.

Wilson started for the Gas against the Hammers - and played in the first half when Sam Finley opened the scoring.

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The 34-year-old didn’t remerge after the break however for the second period and was replaced by fellow summer signing Connor Taylor.

His absence in the second 45 was costly as West Ham mounted a comeback, and scored three goals with no reply, inflicting their first defeat of the EFL Trophy campaign. Fans feared an issue may have arisen given Wilson’s withdrawal but it was revealed to be a pre-planned decision by the manager.

“With Tristan picking up a bit of a knock I said to Connor and Willo they’re going to have to play 45 minutes each just to share the load,” explained Barton when asked if Wilson’s early exit from the game was down to an injury.

“It was always the plan at the start of it. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about there.

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“It was already pre-planned and I think Willo’s experience certainly in the second-half was missed.”

Rovers centre-back options are limited after Tristan Crama suffered an injury last week. He was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, and now the club are awaiting the results of the 21-year-old’s scan.

Meanwhile it was confirmed earlier this week that left-back George Friend would be out for a ‘couple of weeks’ and that made for the return of Crama’s former Brentford teammate Lewis Gordon who had missed the last three matches.

Rovers have Connor Taylor and James Wilson as their available first-choice centre-backs, meanwhile Luca Hoole, who is naturally a right-back, played in that position on Tuesday. Aston Villa loanee Lamare Bogarde is capable of playing in that role, but his preferred position is defensive midfield. James Connolly meanwhile is out on loan at League Two outfit Morecambe.

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