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Gillingham striker Josh Walker injured after “horrific” challenge from Barrow defender George Ray – reaction from Stephen Clemence and Pete Wild

Gillingham striker Josh Walker was left concussed after a challenge that his head coach described as horrific.

A high challenge from Barrow’s George Ray floored Walker after he had been on the pitch less than a minute - replacing injured George Lapslie.

Josh Walker was left concussed after a challenge on Saturday Picture: @KPI_Julian
Josh Walker was left concussed after a challenge on Saturday Picture: @KPI_Julian

More: Boss delighted with response after criticism

Walker received a kick to the breastbone and landed on his head.

Referee Dean Whitestone was quick to issue a red card for Ray and the Gills player eventually recovered to sit and watch the second half after lengthy on-field treatment.

“I thought it was a bad challenge, it was pretty horrific,” said Gills boss Stephen Clemence.

“I go back to the Barrow game up at their place as well, Jonny Williams had quite a bad one early on (after a challenge from Cole Stockton in the match at Barrow last month).

“They are a physical, aggressive team, and this is not me having go at Barrow, I respect what they do but when you have physical, strong players and you mistime a challenge people can come out on the wrong side. That’s happened to a couple of our players against Barrow in the two games.”

Commenting on the challenge on Walker, Clemence said: “Josh got quite a whack into his chest area and fell on his head, it was a double blow and it was a concussion sub in the end, because he was feeling dizzy.

“It was a hell of a whack and I am pleased to see he is okay now but will probably have to miss the next game because of the protocols.”

Barrow boss Peter Wild said: “It’s not the greatest challenge in the world and George is devastated that it happened to him, he’s just mistimed it completely and it’s bad, but he’s not that kind of player and we all know that, and that changed the course of the football match.”

The early injuries kept Clemence busy on the touchline. Walker had only just replaced Lapslie after he pulled up with a tight hamstring.

He said: “It did keep me on my toes but that is what I am there to do and thankfully the decisions I made went okay, but it wasn’t the decisions I made, it was what the boys did on the pitch, they were fantastic.”

Josh Walker is taken off injured in Gillingham's match against Barrow Picture: @KPI_Julian
Josh Walker is taken off injured in Gillingham's match against Barrow Picture: @KPI_Julian

Clemence admitted that even against 10 men it was a tough going but they got the breakthrough when Josh Andrews scored in first-half stoppage-time. Two more goals followed in the second half.

The head coach said: “They took responsibility and it was something I asked of them, to have a right go for the football club. I also asked them to take responsibly on the football.

“We knew at times people might get fed up, because we couldn’t get the ball into forward areas quickly enough, but it is very difficult playing against a deep block.

“We played it ourselves when I was at Newcastle as an assistant and some of the games are not great to watch, but that is the way they believe they can get a result and that is the way I was at Newcastle with Steve (Bruce) and the way we believed we could get a result.

“It was difficult at times but we got the three points and we move on.”

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