Brian Barry-Murphy has offered an injury update on his squad ahead of Dale’s visit to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Stephen Dooley was substituted early on in Tuesday night’s Leasing.com Trophy tie against Bolton Wanderers following a collision, and he is expected to be side lined for a sustained period.
“It was a huge worry for us,” said Barry-Murphy.
“We believed Stephen was really badly injured. It was an innocuous challenge really. We became really worried when we saw him after the game and he was being assessed.
“I’m trying to be accurate in my assessments of players’ injuries, but the early indications are that we may miss Stephen for a length of time.
“I don’t want to say it’s going to be months, and then all of a sudden it becomes weeks, but the early assessments are that Stephen could be out for between 6-8 weeks. That will be confirmed over the next couple of days.
“On reflection, we feel as though that’s relatively good news, because we feared it would be a lot longer than that.”
The Dale boss has confirmed that Eoghan O’Connell and Matty Done are nearing a return to training, although they will be unavailable for the game at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
“From an injury point of view, it’s been a very testing period for the squad. The players who are imminently to coming back into training, before they come back into games, are Eoghan O’Connell, who seems very close to a return.
“We’re building him up gradually again. The players are so committed that I have to be careful with them. They want to play in every game, and Eoghan wanted to push himself through at Fleetwood when he had problems with his calf.
“The benefit of taking him off early in that game is that he looks like he’s going be back in training next week. Hopefully that’s the case, and hopefully we’ll have Matty Done back in training as well.
“Ryan McLaughlin is making good progress, but as we’ve spoken before, his is an injury that is hard to assess in terms of an actual return to game time. It’s very much a case of building him up gradually again and looking to reintroduce him into the training programme.
“When and where he’ll be introduced into that is up to Kevin Gibbins. He’ll decide, in association with the physio [Andy Thorpe]. I can’t, on behalf of the players, become panicky because I want players back into the environment and rush them back for the sake of it.
“We have detailed training plans that are devised by Kevin, and they come back in at the right time for the squad and for the Club, and we have to do the right thing for the players all the time, irrespective of how much we want them to be available.”
Meanwhile, loanees Rekeil Pyke and Tyler Magloire are currently receiving treatment for injuries at their parent clubs, Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers respectively.
“Rekeil received a bang at Fleetwood after scoring his goal and he came off that day. We’re not quite sure where we stand in terms of how long he’s going to be out for.
“He’s back at Huddersfield Town being assessed, because he is their player. So, for his injuries, we have a responsibility to the parent Club to send them back to be assessed under their watch.
“Over the next few days we’ll have a clear idea of how long he’s going to be out for, but again, Rekeil is going through a period where he’s been unlucky. All of his injuries tend to be impact injuries and we have no control over them. The only thing we can do is react to them and treat the players as best we can, and reintroduce them at the right time.
“That’s shown by Tyler Magloire, who remains back at Blackburn Rovers receiving intensive treatment for his groin injury. That’s the process that we have to go through and be very responsible in our attitude towards the player.”
Brian Barry-Murphy was speaking during his pre-match interview. Click HERE to watch in full.