GRESLEY star Rob Spencer was today recovering at home after two emergency operations on his broken jaw
The 26-year-old forward (pictured) has been ruled out for the season after suffering the horror injury in the 1-0 home defeat to Coalville Town on New Year’s Day.
Surgeons feared he could have been left with a dropped jaw but have managed to repair the damage, although two teeth had to be sacrificed.
“It’s horrendous,” said Gresley boss Gary Norton. “Although it was reckless, certainly the goalkeeper didn’t intend to hurt Rob, but the results are horrific.
“Rob can’t speak at the minute — he’s had to have two emergency operations.
“One side of his jaw has been plated and they thought they might have to plate the other side because the break was right on the hinge.
“The concern was if they plated it, his jaw would have dropped, but they managed to wire it.”
Norton has lost one of his most hard-working players and will have to rejig his formation to compensate.
“It’s a huge blow for us and a huge blow for Rob,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s Evo-Stik NPL Division One South home clash with third-placed Stamford, kick-off 3pm.
“We’ve been trying a 4-3-3 formation and after Boxing Day and the win at Mickleover Sports I said we couldn’t do it without Rob.
“He works so hard down that right side and was key to the whole thing working. His work-rate is exceptional and he leads by example.
“We’re going to miss that on the right hand side and will probably have to switch to a 4-4-2 formation.
“Marc Goodfellow and Jordan Nadat can play on the right and left so we’ve got plenty of options.”
Norton was disappointed at losing to Coalville, especially after they were reduced to 10 men, but does not blame his players for their reaction to Spencer’s injury.
“It visibly shook the players for 10 minutes,” he said. “During that time we conceded a penalty and we just didn’t seem to get out of third gear.
“Their replacement keeper made some saves and it was a missed opportunity with them being down to 10 men for 70 minutes.
“You can see why they are top of the league, though, but from our point of view we didn’t really make a fist of it.”
Stamford will present another difficult proposition for Norton’s play-off chasers.
They lost 2-1 at rivals King’s Lynn Town on New Year’s Day and will be looking for a win to stay in the hunt for a top-five place.
“It’ll be another tough game,” said Norton. “They lost the other day but have been on a really good run.”
Michael Nottingham is suspended tomorrow, while Gareth Langford was last night on the verge of signing for Mickleover Sports.
“My gut feeling is we’re going to lose Gareth,” said Norton. “He just wants to play football and has been unlucky not to play more this season.
“If he goes, he goes with our best wishes and the door would always be open for him to come back.”