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Rovers remain without Johnson, Ayala and JRC for Forest trip

Tony Mowbray has reported that there will be no fresh faces returning from injury this weekend

19 February 2021

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Tony Mowbray has revealed that there will be no returning Rovers for tomorrow's contest with Nottingham Forest.

Speaking ahead of the trip to The City Ground to take on Chris Hughton's Reds, Mowbray has confirmed that he will still be without a number of key players for the journey to the East Midlands.

Tom Trybull, Lewis Holtby, Bradley Johnson, Daniel Ayala and Joe Rankin-Costello remain unavailable, whilst Scott Wharton and Derrick Williams are long-term absentees.

And the boss also has a few doubts regarding some members of his squad who featured at Barnsley in midweek.

“I don’t think there’s many positives on players potentially coming back in," he said to iFollow Rovers.

“We picked up a few knocks in midweek and we are waiting on one player to have an injection to see whether he’ll be able to train to play.

“There are a few knocks and niggles and I would hope we’ll take a pretty similar squad with us on the bus to Nottingham.

“The frustration for me is that the knocks always seem to come in the same area of the pitch.

“We’ve had it in the past with having to play Johnson at centre back and [Barry] Douglas at right back.

“It’s part and parcel of the game though and we have to get on with it.

“Rankin-Costello will play for the Under-23s, Johnson’s trained the last couple of days but is slightly feeling his hamstring.

“You don’t throw him in for a football match if he’s feeling his hamstring," he added.

Ex-Forest loanee Ayala has yet to get a run of games under his belt since arriving at Rovers from Middlesbrough in the summer.

The Spaniard has endured a frustrating time having appeared just nine times in blue-and-white since moving to East Lancashire, and hasn't featured since going off injured at Huddersfield Town in December.

“Ayala is getting back on the grass this weekend and he’ll have to be out there for seven to 10 days just to build himself up again," Mowbray reported.

“He was ready to go when we signed him but kept breaking down in the second or third game of a three-game cycle.

“The learning lesson for Dani is that there is going to be an inconsistency of selection over the first month or six weeks that he will be available because he can’t play that second or third game in a week.

“But we have to use that experience and physicality that he has when he is fit and available.

“When you look at the nature of some of the goals we’ve lost, a physical presence would have help.

“The balance of talent, physicality, speed and experience is what you need in a team and certainly Ayala and Johnson would add in the physicality and experience areas for us."

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