Welcome break for Mustoe amid injury problems

At this stage of any season, with momentum on their side – with just one defeat in the last seven league games – most teams might be disappointed to have a blank weekend as we move into the business end of the season. Not, Rovers’ first team Manager, Neil Mustoe, who faced a weekend with a mass of absentees, with a host of injuries affecting the availability of his squad.

Tuesday evening’s hard fought draw with fellow Gloucestershire side Lydney Town was enough to take Rovers to nine points from their last seven games, and although that is hardly outstanding, it is a timely run of improved form, at a time when Mustoe’s side are trying to claw their way away from the bottom of the table and to a place of  safety, at a time when the first team boss is missing huge numbers of players due to injury.

At Lydney Mustoe himself made his debut for the club, nearly ten years after his last competitive appearance for Gloucester City, coming on as a second half substitute, such is the paucity of numbers available at the present time.

Kieran Alder has been out since December, save for a fleeting appearance at Bradford Town on 18 February, and in recent weeks he has been joined on the sidelines by Shayne Bradley, Ashley Davies and Macaulay Herbert. Liam Smith had been struggling for fitness since the end of February and on Tuesday evening he pulled up during the warm-up and remains a doubt for the coming weeks.

Dan Beasley and Yeshaya Lomotey both started the game at Lydney but picked up injuries and had to be withdrawn from the action, whilst Henry Birkett was unavailable due to illness. With Paul Azubilla having relocated away from the area due to work commitments, and a handful of others having called time on their spell at the club, Mustoe has been left with very few options to call upon, meaning he was glad to have a weekend without a game.

Rovers are back in action, with an immediate return to Lydney Town on Wednesday evening, when they play for a place in the GFA Challenge Trophy final. The Rovers boss will be hoping a weekend off for his players might be the break needed before they resume their league campaign.