Will Forrester will miss the next stage of Wanderers’ promotion push as the Whites weigh up the possibility of adding reinforcements to their squad, writes Pete Oliver.
Forrester suffered a hamstring injury in Wanderers’ mid-week FA Cup exit to Luton Town and is now facing three to four weeks on the sidelines.
The setback is an untimely one for the defender, who has been in outstanding form and enjoying a run of starting appearances since Gethin Jones’ departure on international duty and helping Australia advance to the last-16 of the Asian Cup.
Boss Ian Evatt admits Forrester’s absence will be felt but will now look to someone else to fill the void or potentially make a move for a replacement before the January transfer window closes.
“It's part of football that sometimes when you think things are going really well, things come and bite you in the backside,” said Evatt. “This injury has come at a bad time for everybody, but that happens in football.
“We’ll help him recover and make sure he's right and then try and monitor the market to see if we need to be a little bit fluid and bring some extra bodies in to help us.
“It's not ideal with Geth being away for another few weeks, at least, but these things come to challenge us and we'll check and monitor the transfer market to see if we need to bring in anybody's to help us.
“It's a chance for somebody else, as always, if an injury happens, which is unfortunate for Will but an opportunity for someone else and whoever steps up will know they need to play well to take the shirt.”
While Forrester starts his absence, Wanderers will have wing-back Randell Williams back from illness for Saturday’s trip to Leyton Orient as they resume their League One campaign in search of a fifth succesive league win.
That fixture will need to beat the weather for Wanderers to complete a first league fixture since New Year’s Day, with a precautionary pitch inspection planned for Brisbane Road on Friday afternoon.
With a busy schedule already in place, Wanderers will be keen to play to avoid any further potential fixture congestion – eased slightly by the rapid re-arrangement of last Saturday’s abandoned game against Cheltenham Town.
Cheltenham were due to go to Burton next Tuesday night but both clubs agreed to postpone that fixture to allow the Robins to play at Wanderers as one of the Whites’ games in hand on the three clubs above them in the table.
“I want to say a huge thank-you to (Burton manager) Martin Paterson and (Cheltenham manager) Darrell Clark and how they have handled that and what they have done to help us,” Evatt told Wanderers TV.
“I think it's brilliant from them, and the spirit of the competition; two clubs who have, in my opinion, made the right call to help another out and thank you so much for that.
“It's important that we try to tick these games off as soon as we can and especially when there was a window to do it. There was a window for us to do it next Tuesday and thankfully it's managed to be arranged. Richard Cooper (Wanderers’ Head of Football Administration) did great work with that behind the scenes and again thanks to those two clubs.
“That's one game we will get back, but there are lots of games to go; 22 still in the league and not a great deal of time to play them. But I enjoy watching these players play and they are enjoying playing at the moment, so bring it on.”