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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Hurst faces another month on sidelines

INJURED Barrow AFC goalkeeper Danny Hurst faces another month on the sidelines.

HORROR INJURY: Danny Hurst is attended to by a paramedic (left) and Barrow physio Sean Riley at Wealdstone last month colin read

The popular 31-year-old has not touched a football since being knocked unconscious during the Bluebirds’ FA Trophy defeat at Wealdstone three weeks ago.

Barrow’s first choice stopper suffered two minor bleeds between the brain and skull following an accidental collision with Wealdstone winger Britt Assombalonga, and spent three nights in a London hospital.

Hurst is desperate to get back to action, but Barrow joint-manager Dave Bayliss said: “Danny is talking about being back in two weeks’ time but (AFC physio) Sean (Riley) has completely put a block on that and said another four weeks, which is totally understandable.”

With that in mind, Barrow this week signed 19-year-old Leeds United keeper Alex Cairns in a one-month loan deal.

Cairns will provide competition for 21-year-old Shaun Pearson, who has started the Bluebirds’ last three games between the sticks.

Bayliss said: “Leeds have high hopes for Alex.

“By all accounts, they rate him higher than they did Alan Martin (the former Leeds keeper who had two loan spells at Barrow) when he was a kid.

“We wanted more competition and to strengthen in that position.

“We are obviously missing Danny Hurst because he is an established keeper, but Shaun has done brilliant for us, as he too, like Alex, is a young lad.

“We couldn’t go with one keeper for the next four weeks, it would have been a big, big ask to do that.”

With the purse strings tight at Holker Street, Barrow have, like they did in landing striker Joe Jackson and midfielder Alex-Ray Harvey on loan from Burnley, negotiated a deal so Leeds will continue to pay the keeper’s wages during his time at AFC.

Bayliss said: “Leeds have been fantastic with us, giving us young Alex to get some experience.

“Whether he starts games, that’s down to Alex. We have to cover Alex with a little bit of expenses because he lives in Doncaster, but Leeds have been brilliant.

“I think it’s the way forward for clubs like us and like Leeds. To be honest, I think it benefits them more than us.

“I know we’re getting the kid for nothing, but if they think something of him, which they obviously do, he has to get experience somewhere and to loan him out to clubs like us, I think it’s the way forward.”

Barrow’s home friendly against Bolton Wanderers reserves, which had been scheduled for tomorrow, has been called off in advance due to a frozen pitch at Holker Street.

The Bluebirds’ next game is on Tuesday night, when they entertain Blue Square Bet Premier big-hitters Luton Town (7.45pm kick-off).

AFC football secretary Russell Dodd said yesterday: “The Holker Street surface is already hard and with the forecast of no thawing temperatures until at least Saturday afternoon, it was decided to provide the Premiership club with the maximum notice.

“Warmer temperatures are forecast from Sunday, so it is hoped that the pitch will be ready to host Luton Town on Tuesday, subject to the visitors’ FA Trophy commitments.

“Luton go to Kidderminster on Saturday (in the competition’s last-16) and Aggborough beat the freeze more than most grounds last season.”

Should the tie end in a draw, the replay will be played on Tuesday, thus leaving Barrow without a game.

Barrow had been set to field four triallists – two centre-halves, a central midfielder and a French striker – in the friendly against Bolton.

Speaking prior to the game’s cancellation, Bayliss said of the quartet: “They are kids who we are really interested in having a proper look at for next season.”

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