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Ward backs fringe defenders to fill the void
DARREN Ward has backed Swindon Town’s limited central defensive options to rise to the challenge in the absence of the injured Grant Hall.
Hall, on loan from Tottenham, has been ruled out for between six and eight weeks after being stretchered off during Town’s 2-0 defeat to Gillingham on Saturday with a calf problem.
Swindon now only have four recognised centre-backs at the club, in the shape of Ward, Raphael Rossi Branco, Troy Archibald-Henville and Aaron Oakley, but Branco only broke into the Robins’ first team at the end of December, Archibald-Henville has not played a competitive game since September 21 following knee surgery and Oakley – currently on loan at Chippenham – has not yet made his professional debut.
Despite appearing thin on the ground, Ward is keen to look at the positives.
When asked by the Advertiser whether he felt Town had enough in their central defensive ranks to see their play-off push through to the end of the League One season, he said: “I’m not too sure if it’s enough, it’s probably what we’ve got to play with.
“Who knows. Aaron’s coming back, he’s looking well, and Troy’s coming back and training more.
“They might have to step up if something happens to one of us two in that position.
“Within that group Jay (McEveley) can play centre-half, I’m pretty sure Nathan (Thompson) can play centre-half if needed.
“We’ll just have to wait and see.
“I’d look at it as what we can do now if Raffa and I are playing centre-half as a partnership looking forwards for the next few games.
“At the minute it’s yet to be seen, it’s hard to say.”
On Saturday, Town boss Mark Cooper suggested that Archibald-Henville requires another development game before he can be considered for a return to the Robins’ matchday squad.
Meanwhile, former Swindon manager Ossie Ardiles is reported to be in a stable condition after the Argentinian was involved in a car crash in the Falkland Islands on Monday.
Ardiles, who took charge of Town for two years between 1989 and 1991, is said to have received 21 stitches in a head wound following the accident, which took place at around 9pm local time on East Falkland.
Ardiles’s son Pablo told the BBC: “My understanding is he is fine.
“He has 20-odd stitches in his head and my understanding is he has been hospitalised overnight.”
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