Magpies bring in emergency keeper to cover for Lovett's absence

Rhys Lovett. Photo by Darren Woolley

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Maidenhead United have signed an emergency goalkeeper in time for Saturday’s home game with Sutton United, after Rhys Lovett was injured in Tuesday night’s 4-0 defeat to Notts County.

James Holden from Reading FC has been brought in on a 28-day loan as emergency cover.

Lovett was substituted early in the second half, and later taken to hospital, having taken a couple of hefty blows to his chest in aerial challenges with Ruben da Rocha Rodrigues.

With no back-up keeper on the bench, midfielder James Comley was forced to go in goal and, despite making a few decent saves, conceded three times as the Magpies were comfortably beaten by the promotion chasers.

Speaking after the game, Devonshire felt his keeper should have been given better protection by the match officials. Had they ‘done their job’ and cautioned Rodrigues for what he felt was a late and blatant foul on Lovett in the opening minutes, he believes the keeper would have escaped injury.

Fortunately, scans taken at the hospital revealed he’d sustained only severe bruising to his ribcage rather than any broken bones.

He’ll almost certainly miss this Saturday’s home game with Sutton United and Tuesday’s trip to Yeovil Town, and the Magpies have a loan keeper lined up to replace him, should they receive permission from the league.

“He hasn’t broken anything,” said Devonshire. “He’s just struggling to breathe at the moment. His chest is very sore where he got whacked.

“We were really worried about him last night. His dad took him up to the hospital and then text me at about 2am in the morning to say there was nothing broken. He’s just very, very sore.

“I can’t risk him on Saturday or Tuesday this week. The kid’s been battered. It looks like he’s been 10 rounds with Anthony Joshua.

“We’re now hoping to get an emergency loan. To be fair, some club did that last week after the deadline so hopefully we’ll be treated the same.

“We’ve got a lad who’ll come on loan to us.”

Victory strengthened County’s grip on a play-off spot while all but extinguishing Maidenhead’s slim hopes of a top seven finish. They’re now 10 points adrift with five matches to play.

With Taye Ashby-Hammond ruled out for the rest of the season through injury and young keeper Fred Chapman recovering from a collarbone injury, the Magpies have been ‘down to the bare bones’ in recent weeks.

“We only had one keeper last night,” he said. “Taye (Ashby-Hammond) is injured as well, and if that hadn’t happened Rhys would have been on the bench.

“We didn’t have another goalkeeper full stop; you can’t pay three goalkeepers when you’re a small club like us.

“There’s no way you can do it.”

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