Ryan Loft’s absence for Bristol Rovers explained by Joey Barton after missing loss to Ipswich

Rovers had to do without their man in form and he was missed as they fell to a 2-0 defeat

Joey Barton has explained why Ryan Loft was absent in Bristol Rovers’ 2-0 defeat to Ipswich Town on Tuesday evening.

The in-form Loft had started the last two matches for the Gas, scoring three goals but missed out on the trip to Portman Road, which was the first match back following the passing of Queen Elizabeth.

Information has now come to light as to why the 24-year-old didn’t play a part in the defeat in Suffolk, as he missed out with a niggle.

Saturday’s postponement with MK Dons saw Rovers hold an intra-squad friendly to best prepare for their next match, scheduled three days later, and the striker sustained an injury in training.

His status was touch-and-go for this evening and he remains a doubt for the match with Lincoln City at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol before kick-off, Barton explained: “Lofty (Ryan) picked up a bit of a knock in the 11 versus 11 we had on Saturday. He was touch and go for the game tonight but hasn’t made it.

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“He’s gonna be hopefully available for the weekend’s game but we are still not sure on that.”

Rovers already have a lengthy injury list to contend with Lewis Gibson, James Connolly, James Gibbons, Josh Coburn, and Josh Grant all on the sidelines.

In Loft’s absence, top scorer Aaron Collins started as the solitary forward with summer signing John Marquis dropping to the bench with Luke McCormick, Trevor Clarke, and Harry Anderson given starts.

Anderson was withdrawn just 15 minutes into the match however after sustaining an off-the-ball injury, where he was replaced by Harvey Saunders.

It was a frustrating night in Ipswich with goals from Conor Chaplin and Lee Evans inflicting defeat on Barton’s men, who were reduced to nine men in stoppage time.

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Bobby Thomas was shown two quick yellow cards and Alfie Kilgour was shown a straight red card for a foul as the last defender, joining Jordan Rossiter on the sidelines for suspensions.

Kilgour and Thomas’ red cards mean that up to nine players could now miss Saturday’s match with Lincoln with no fully recognised centre halves available.