‘Soul destroying’ - Joey Barton provides update on key Bristol Rovers midfielder

Grant has only been available to Joey Barton for one match this season

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Joey Barton has revealed that Bristol Rovers midfielder Josh Grant may require surgery to overcome his latest injury problem.

The Gas utility man has been limited to one substitute appearance this season owing to a spate of injury issues, which has majorly affected his availability for selection.

The 23-year-old has tendonitis in the bottom side of his patella on the opposite knee to the one he injured towards the end of last season, which ruled him out for three months.

Grant missed a chunk of the League Two promotion-winning campaign but returned towards the tail end of the campaign to help get the team over the line.

“I think Josh is going to require an operation,” Barton said in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Cambridge United match.

“He’s had a further setback. He’s still got a bit of an issue, it’s been scanned and he might need a bit of surgery there in the knee.

“It must be incredibly frustrating for Josh when you’re a good player as he is, it must be soul-destroying to have niggle after niggle. “We have just got to help him through that and support him, hopefully, he’ll turn a corner someday.”

No time frame has been placed on Grant making a return to the Rovers first-team as the player and club seek clarity on the severity of his injury.

In a bid to put an end to the injury woes, he could now undergo surgery that would hopefully rectify the issue and would build robustness into the players body.

Grant will be hopeful of returning sooner rather than later as he enters the last year of his contract, with his availability a major factor in whether they decide to extend his stay or not.

“He’s seeing a surgeon today in London,” Barton revealed.

“After he’s had a discussion with him, we’ll probably know more on the time frame. Josh is a player out of contract in the summer. He’s 23 and he’s still young. You hope that this is the operation that sorts everything out for him the way he goes.

“The physios and surgeons will deal with that and we’ll take it from there. We’re desperate to get him into our team. I can’t imagine the level of frustration and disappointment for him because he’s had a lot of setbacks in my short time here.”

Elsewhere on the injury front, central defender James Connolly is getting nearer to a return.

The 20-year-old has been sidelined since late August from a stress fracture injury which has resulted in a continuously reshuffled backline.

Barton said: “James Connolly is back on the grass, he joined in the warm-up this morning.

“He’s not quite joined with the group in full contact stuff. He’s been out for six and a bit weeks now I think.

“We have to play it stage-by-stage. Hopefully in the next ten days he will be joining full contact with the group.”

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