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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 15:52 GMT
Hessenthaler seeking help
Reading winger John Salako
Salako grabbed a late winner for Reading
Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler could be set to dip into the transfer market to solve his injury crisis.

Hessenthaler admitted his side was down to the bare bones after the defeat at Reading on Monday.

The Gills went down 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium despite leading through a goal from Rod Wallace.

And matters were made worse when defender Chris Hope suffered a knee injury towards the end of the game.

The 37-year-old Hessenthaler also limped off late in the second half with a calf injury.

He said: "It has been giving me a few problems lately but I will be okay for Saturday.

We have a lot of good young players in the side and their young legs kept us going to the end

John Salako

"But we have picked up a couple more injuries and we are now down to the bare bones.

"It doesn't help that Mamady Sidibe now goes straight off to play for Mali and doesn't get back until Friday night.

"He might need a rest on Saturday and I will have to think about bringing in a couple of loan players.

"We had some decent chances and could have won the game but it's tough when injuries keep ripping the guts out of the team."

The ever-present Hope will require treatment from physio George Johnson, while Nyron Nosworthy was also having ice put on a groin strain.

John Salako won the battle of the veterans with a later winner to help the Royals move into fifth in the league.

"It's a young man's game and I do feel the pressure of young bucks like Nathan Tyson breathing down my back," said the former Crystal Palace and England winger.

"Hopefully this goal will kick-start my season because the Reading fans have great expectations of me and a small section have even booed me at times during the season."

Perceptive

Reading boss Alan Pardew added: "It's not been easy for Salako because of Tyson's form.

"But if you are a left sided winger and you want to learn your trade then there's nobody better to learn from than John."

Pardew also praised Manchester United's Luke Chadwick, who made his loan debut for Reading.

"It's his first competitive league game for a long time but some of his passing was so perceptive that our lads didn't spot the opportunities."


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