Joey Barton reacts as peculiar Bristol Rovers issue remains

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Football League World

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton has defended the club’s ground staff, despite self-inflicted injury concerns. 

Three players have picked up injuries during training in the 11 months since the club opened its new ground.

Mark Hughes is the latest to suffer a problem. An Achilles injury kept him out of Saturday’s defeat to Leyton Orient.

Anssi Jaakkola and Josh Grant have suffered Achilles and plantar fascia injuries by picking up wear and tear in their feet during training. 

Rovers are set to investigate the surface, but Barton has insisted that the ground staff are not to be blamed.

“He (Hughes) picked up an Achilles injury. We’re having a thing where we’ve got obviously a few Achilles (problems), so we want to test the surface at the training ground,” said Barton, via Bristol Post.

“We’ve had Anssi, Josh Grant (suffer injuries). The previous physio Miles thought the pitches might have been a touch too hard.

“They’re immaculate by the way, so this is not a critique, but we don’t know if the firmness of the pitch is leading to a few knocks and niggles or whether it’s just part and parcel.

“Yoz (Hughes) has got a bit of a swollen Achilles. Obviously, we’ve got Anssi missing a period of time with that. Josh has missed most of this week’s training but he managed to train Friday.

“So we’ve had a little bit of disruption with that. So we just want to cover that off to make sure it’s not the actual firmness of the training pitch.”

Former Rovers physiotherapist Miles Warren raised questions about the training ground’s surface before losing his job during a Summer shakeup in the backroom staff at the club.

Rovers have started the season poorly and sit in 22nd in League Two, with only two victories to their name from eight games. 

Next up for the Pirates is a trip away to Walsall on Saturday.

The Verdict

It taking this long to investigate despite Warren bringing this issue up last season is baffling. It is a sign of poor management. Barton was right to take the limelight away from the ground staff, who could be an easy target for blame in this type of situation.

However, if there is ever any suspicion that the training ground is leading to injuries then the club needs to act as quickly as possible. With the team struggling for results, it simply can’t afford to be missing players during such an important stage of the season.

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