Bradford manager Mark Hughes fears Emmanuel Osadebe’s season could be ‘cut short’ after he suffered a suspected broken leg on his debut in a 0-0 draw with Doncaster.
Play was stopped for eight minutes before the winger was stretchered off. Doncaster’s Liam Ravenhill was booked for the foul that caused the early injury and was substituted straight away by manager Gary McSheffrey.
It was only the first major incident in a game which saw red cards for Rovers’ Lee Tomlin in first-half stoppage time and Bradford’s Kian Harratt after the final whistle, but all thoughts were with Osadebe afterwards.
Hughes said: “It’s not good news. It could very well be a double break so, if that’s the case, there is an issue with ligaments as well.
“He’s going to be out for a significant amount of time and our thoughts are with him.
“It’s a new club and he’d been playing exceptionally well in pre-season and was looking forward to the season like we all were.
“To have it cut short like that is really emotional for everybody. You saw the reaction of the players – some were really affected by it.”
Doncaster were reduced to 10 men just before half-time when striker Tomlin was sent off by former Scottish Premier League referee Bobby Madden, officiating in an eventful first game in England.
Tomlin was booked for delaying a free-kick being taken and then shown another yellow card when he fell theatrically after Jamie Walker stood on his foot.
Bradford captain Richie Smallwood, another of their 14 summer signings, clipped a post with a free-kick from 20 yards.
Hughes felt that Tomlin’s departure killed the game, with Doncaster happy to settle for a draw from that point.
He said: “They had a lot of guys going down too easily holding their heads and the ref bought that.
“It was a definite game plan from them and fragmented the game – 19,000 people came here today to watch a game of football and unfortunately we didn’t really see one because the opposition didn’t want to engage.”
McSheffrey was unapologetic about his side’s spoiling tactics after Tomlin’s red card.
“We’ve made the crowd a bit angry and can see that we were frustrating them,” he said.
“The two yellow cards within 30 seconds were really silly. It was stupid petulance and we had to make it ugly after that.
“That gave us another challenge. We’ve been faced with so many this week with players missing with injuries and then Tommy Rowe jarred his neck and couldn’t get out of bed.
“We rode our luck and everyone’s put a great shift in.
“Condolences to Osadebe with the injury. I don’t think anything was intentional – it’s a freak one.
“It obviously stopped the game for a while and I had to then make a substitution with Ravs because they would have been after him, the ref would have been after him. It was a tactical change to keep 11 on the pitch – and then we go and lose a man.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe