Aldershot Town conceded an equaliser immediately after he was taken off, but manager Gary Waddock insists he couldn’t afford to risk former Chelsea, QPR and Brentford man Manny Oyeleke playing a whole 90 minutes against Leyton Orient on Saturday.
The 24-year-old has been struggling with a hamstring injury and made his first start of the month against Orient but with the score at 2-1 Waddock brought the midfielder off after 79 minutes of Saturday’s game, only for the Shots to concede an equaliser three minutes later.
But while some supporters were surprised to see Oyeleke taken off, Waddock insists it was never the plan for the all-action midfielder to see out the entire game.
And with the Shots still low on numbers after an injury crisis that saw them unable to field ten fully-fit outfield players against Solihull Moors earlier this month, Waddock was adamant he would not be taking any risks with Oyeleke.
“I thought he was outstanding but I’m disappointed because he was never going to last the game,” he said. “If we had taken him into the final ten minutes then we would risk losing him for a longer period of time. He’s been out for a while and we miss him.
“He is a talented player and he was excellent on Saturday. I wanted to keep him on for as long as I could but we had to bring him off in the end.
“We couldn’t risk Manny going into the final period of the game because if we had lost him he would be out for another four to six weeks, and we can’t afford that.
“It’s difficult because we wanted to win the game [against Orient] but I was speaking to Russ [Clash, head of medical and sport science] and he’s saying to me that we have to be careful of Manny and that’s something we spoke about before the game. We have to be very careful with players when they are coming back.
“We can’t risk any of the players who have out injured and especially someone like Manny who we saw against Orient what a good player he is.”
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