ROCESTER skipper Craig Holland was today still in hospital after suffering a severely broken leg at the weekend.
The 30-year-old midfielder shattered his shin bone against Kirby Muxloe on Saturday and had a five-hour operation to pin the break.
“We’re all absolutely gutted for Craig,” said Romans boss Dave Langston. “He’s a great lad and has been brilliant this season.”
The compound fracture — which could end Holland’s career — has come at a time when he was considering retirement to concentrate on his work commitments.
“The ridiculous thing about it is from Thursday to Saturday I heard rumours about him wanting to pack up football completely,” said Langston.
“He needs to work, but I talked him out of it before the game on Saturday.
“I felt terrible about that with what happened.
“There was an aura about the game — everyone said it. The place felt strange all afternoon and then this happened.”
Rocester’s clash with Kirby Muxloe was abandoned after Holland’s injury and subsequent treatment on the pitch delayed the match for half an hour.
The visitors were 2-0 up and cut up rough when Potteries official Mark Murfitt ruled that rain had made the pitch unplayable.
“There was no respect at all from Kirby Muxloe after Craig’s injury,” said Langston. “I thought it was going to kick off in the clubhouse afterwards.”
Now, Langston has got to replace his most influential midfielder, who is the club’s reigning players’ player of the year and manager’s player of the year..
Former Romans Christian Dacres and Darren Alexander, now both playing for Stafford Rangers, could be signed to plug the gap, while former Stapenhill man Dean Bromley is set to join the club this week.
There is also an opportunity for Jack Langston to make a mark in what has been a very disappointing season so far.
“I’ll have a chat with Greg (Clowes, Stafford manager),” said the Romans boss. “We’ve got to get someone else in and, short-term, we’ve got to get someone who isn’t cup tied for the Vase.
“Dean’s moved back up to the Burton area and can play on the left or in central midfield.” Edwin Ahenkorah will not be suspended for the Vase clash against Southam or Long Eaton on December 8.
He was sent off on Saturday for retaliation and, despite the match being abandoned, will serve a three-match ban starting on December 15, a week after the big cup tie.
“I told him he’ll have to get used to defenders coming through the back of him,” said Langston. “He’s only 18 and will learn if he was playing against us I’d tell (centrehalves) Darren (Bullock) and Wayne (Johnson) to get tight to him and do exactly the same thing.”
ROCESTER’S Midland Alliance visit to Coventry Sphinx on Monday was postponed due to road chaos caused by the heavy rains.