‘We had lads going down potholes’ says Westley as Stevenage lose defender to injury

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

Injuries continue to mount for Boro boss as side draw at home to Bury

Darius Charles limps off. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Darius Charles limps off. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Graham Westley has bemoaned the condition of the Lamex Stadium pitch after seeing Darius Charles limp off late into their game with Bury.

The defender went over on his ankle when challenging for the ball in injury time in Tuesday evening’s stalemate, and is now a serious doubt for Saturday’s trip to Hartlepool United.

With first-choice left-back Jerome Okimo set to miss the next month through injury, and with Harry Worley a long-term absentee, Westley is down to his bare bones in defence. Jon Ashton, however, did play 90 minutes on his return to the side despite also hurting his ankle during the 0-0 draw.

Speaking afterwards, Westley said: “It was a war of attrition. They’re a different type of side to us and the conditions were obviously going to play their part.

Chris Whelpdale gets stuck in. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Chris Whelpdale gets stuck in. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

“It’s a very difficult surface. You can see again we’ve taken injuries tonight where lads have gone down potholes. Ash has turned an ankle, Darius has said that the pitch affected his judgement on the tackle.

“We’ve already lost [Lee] Barnard, we’ve lost [Ryan] Brunt. It’s really difficult out there.

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“You’ve got to play in a certain way to try and deal with the surface, and we had to play with the players that are available.”

Already missing eight first-choice players through injury, Westley said he was pleased with the application shown by his players against their fellow promotion hopefuls.

“We have obviously got a lot of dynamism missing in [Dean] Parrett and Tom Pett and Adam Marriott, so we know we can’t play the type of game that we’d play with those players available,” Westley said.

“We’ve got to play a much more resilient, dogged, determined game, and I thought that the fight and the spirit and the will to work for each other out there, especially when you bear in mind that people like Jon Ashton have been out for eight or 10 weeks and he has come back in and played 90 minutes and has done what only he could do.

“[We showed] terrific determination and terrific application against a very good side.”

Boro made four changes from the team that lost at Mansfield Town last week, the club’s third consecutive defeat.

Speaking about the changes, which saw the likes of Ashton and midfielder Simon Walton return to the starting XI, Westley said: “I’ve tried to deal with the absences by almost replacing like for like and giving younger lads their chance to come in and take over the shirts and give us that sort of attacking dynamism that the senior boys who have been doing so well have been giving.

“It hasn’t worked, there’s no hiding in the results. So I’ve had to use the experienced boys and ask them to go and play in a certain way.

“It is not the way that we want to play. We don’t want to be dogged and determined and counter-attacking at home.

“We want to go and get after games but have needs, must do.

“I thought they ground out a really hard earned clean sheet. I thought defensively they were very solid. On the counter attack we didn’t have that many moments but we did have a moment or two when we could have won the game and in fairness our goal didn’t come under a lot of threat either.”

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