Forest Green boss Mark Cooper revealed Jamille Matt will miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious hand injury in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Bolton.
Matt was forced off early on after colliding with Ricardo Santos, before Eoin Doyle’s 16th goal of the season catapulted Bolton above their hosts in the Sky Bet League Two table, with Rovers dropping out of the top three for the first time since January.
“Jammer (Jamille Matt) has a very significant hand injury which will require a lot of surgery and he’s out for the season,” said Cooper.
“We will have to find a different way to do things like we did when we lost Carl Winchester to Sunderland and we will now be without big Jammer, but we will support him.”
Cooper insisted his side did enough to win the game but felt Doyle was a significant difference.
“We had some good chances and should have won the game, but the big difference was Eoin Doyle – that’s why he earns the money and gets the moves and that’s why he’s done what he has in his career.
“The only difference today was he had one sniff on goal and one chance and it’s a good finish, but bad defending from us.
“We’ve had some significant injuries, but we’re not going to cry – time for the players to step up and, until we get Ebou Adams and Nicky Cadden back, now is the time for the boys that haven’t played much to take a chance and give us impetus and energy, going into the last nine games.”
Bolton boss Ian Evatt dedicated his side’s victory to the club’s former striker Frank Worthington.
Worthington died on Monday at the age of 72 following a long illness and the Bolton players wore black armbands to mark his passing.
And Evatt felt the Saturday lunchtime victory was the perfect tribute to the former England forward.
Evatt said: “We lost a massive club legend this week and he’s in our prayers. We hope we’ve done him proud.”
In a tepid game, chances were at a premium, but Wanderers broke the deadlock on 39 minutes. Nathan Delfouneso beat Baily Cargill down the right to arrow a pin-point cross onto the boot of Doyle, who volleyed home with ease.
Bolton had second-half penalty claims ignored when Oladapo Afolayan went to the ground following a tangle with Udoka Godwin-Malife as Evatt’s side comfortably saw the game out.
“It was a huge three points,” added Evatt. “It was a challenging game between two good teams – a game of chess really.
“These tight games are usually sealed by a bit of quality, which is what we saw.
“It feels good to be up there in the table, but unless we’re there at the end of the season I won’t be happy. We just have to focus on ourselves and what we’re doing.
“The lads are hungry, determined and want this more than anything. We don’t want to disappoint anyone and just want to get the job done. Winning can become an addiction.
“We’ve given ourselves a fantastic chance with another hard-fought victory, but there are nine cup finals to go.
“If we keep doing what we are doing, no one can stop us.”