CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mark Collier isn’t pointing the finger at Hungerford Town’s Ian Herring after Bluebirds midfielder Rob Dean suffered a horrific dislocated knee during Tuesday’s abandoned Southern League Premier Division clash.
Dean, 24, was taken to Swindon’s Great Western Hospital after a ferocious challenge from the former Hardenhuish Park captain, who was shown a straight red card by referee Reuben Simon.
The incident sparked a skirmish between both sets of players and management with the official then bringing the game to a premature end with around 26 minutes on the clock.
Paramedics and medical staff from both sides tended to the stricken Dean, who also suffered a serious ankle injury, on the Bulpit Lane pitch and he spent Tuesday night in hospital after having his right leg corrected.
A number of Bluebirds players were visibly shaken by their teammate’s severe injury but Collier refused to play the blame game.
“From where we were in the dugout, it was hard to see the tackle but Lee Phillips and Alan Griffin were nearer to where it happened and they said it was a whole-hearted tackle, that was just mistimed,” said the Chippenham chief, who labelled the injury “as a bad as I’ve seen in 40 years of football.’’ “It’s one of those horrible things that can happen in football and we won’t be proportioning blame anywhere.”
Dean is facing a total knee reconstruction operation and Collier added: “The surgeon at the hospital said he’d only seen one other injury as bad as Rob’s in 10 years and our thoughts are with him now because he’s going to be out for a long time.
“He’s a well-respected lad in the dressing room and it was a very quiet place in there after it happened but we’ve all had a conversation about it.”
The Bluebird will try and push their concerns for Dean to one-side tomorrow when they make the journey to Chesham United.
Meanwhile, Cirencester Town will be looking to get their Division One South and West title hopes back on track when they host North Leigh.
The Centurions suffered a setback on Tuesday night when they lost 1-0 at home to Swindon Supermarine and are now nine points behind leaders Merthyr Town with three games in hand.