Westley praises on loan Bristol Rovers striker as forward options dealt a blow with Barnard injury

Ryan Brunt made his first start for Boro on Saturday. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Ryan Brunt made his first start for Boro on Saturday. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Stevenage have used 10 players in striker positions in 21 games so far this season

Graham Westley says Ryan Brunt put in an ‘exceptional’ performance leading the line against Exeter City.

The on-loan Bristol Rovers striker played the full 90 minutes against the in-form Grecians, starting the match alongside Lee Barnard, who went off after 15 minutes with an ankle injury, before partnering Charlie Lee.

Barnard’s injury will give Westley a further headache as Stevenage look for a turnaround in fortunes on the road at Dagenham and Redbridge on Boxing Day.

Boro have so far used 10 players in the forward positions this season, including winger Chris Whelpdale and fellow midfielder Lee, while Calvin Zola, Adam Marriott and Connor Calcutt are all out with long-term injuries. Cameron Lancaster’s short-term deal also recently came to an end.

Speaking about his options up front, Westley said: “The curse of our No.9 shirt [with regards to Barnard].

“Zola hasn’t kicked a ball in earnest, Marriott can’t get fit, Barnard has gone out now. It’s not going the best for us up there but I thought Brunt was exceptional [against Exeter].

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“He came in and led the line really well. His hold up play was fantastic, his constant movement and pressing were exceptional. He earned the right to the cramp he got in the 93rd minute and he had a really great afternoon.”

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