Reds boss rocked by more injury Hassell

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DEFENDER Bobby Hassell faces a spell on the sidelines having suffered ankle ligament damage in Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace.

The versatile Hassell was playing in his first game having recovered from a calf injury.

Reds boss Mark Robins told The Star: “Bobby’s very doubtful for Saturday, it’s a big blow for us. He’s damaged ankle ligaments and he’s injured his calf again, so it’s not looking good.”

However, Robins is hopeful that he will welcome back Manchester City loan defender Kieran Trippier from a groin injury in time for this Saturday’s home clash with Bristol City at Oakwell.

“It would be good if Kieran is fit because he’d be a straight swap for Bobby,” added Robins. “Kieran’s due to join in training tomorrow, so hopefully he’ll be all right for Saturday.”

Centre-back Stephen Foster is Robins’ only other injury worry, absent with a torn thigh muscle. Foster has not trained this week, but was expected to play some part in the reserve game at home to Nottingham Forest tonight.

The Reds have seven games to see if they can achieve a top-half finish and better last season’s final tally of 54 points.

Robins’ charges are on 47 points and have every chance of still achieving their highest Championship for five seasons.

“There’s still a lot of work to do. I’m demanding that from the players and they’re demanding that from themselves,” said Robins. “Saturday [a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace] was disappointing because we conceded poor goals, but on saying that we passed the ball and had the majority of the possession.

“For some reason, though, there was a reticence to shoot; that’s something we need to work on. It’s frustrating because we played well in periods on Saturday and should have got something from the game.

“But we’ve got to better in that final third and make sure we don’t over-pass. When you play a passing game there is sometimes an over-emphasis on passing too much.”

The Reds host Bristol City this weekend, followed by a home clash with league leaders QPR next Tuesday.

And Robins is adamant his team should be relishing the challenge of trying to beat two teams sat higher than them in the table. “What a great couple of games to look forward to. We want to start picking points up, it seems ages since we last won a game because of the international break.”