ACCRINGTON Stanley will be without first choice goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin for the rest of the season after the stopper picked up a shoulder injury.
The 32-year-old is Stanley’s only professional goalkeeper and the club signed Leeds United’s Paul Rachubka on an emergency loan deal in time for the FA Cup draw with Oxford on Saturday.
That deal lasts just a week and can be renewed, but not extended, before the transfer window opens in January with youngster Andrew Dawber, yet to sign a professional contract, Stanley’s other option.
Stanley boss Leam Richardson said Dunbavin tore his ligaments in his shoulder in the midweek defeat to Rotherham before being ruled out late last week.
“He has been struggling for a week or two but he got another knock on Tuesday and he went for a scan and the news came back and it wasn’t great,” said Richardson.
“Leeds United and Paul Rachubka have been kind enough to come in and help us out.
“I thought he was fantastic. He came in at 1.15pm and met the team.
“For anyone, experienced or not, it is a difficult one.”
Meanwhile, Richardson has challenged his young side to keep on improving after being stunned by a dramatic late equaliser in a pulsating FA Cup second round tie with Oxford on Saturday.
Richardson’s men led 2-1 with 10 minutes to go and 3-2 heading into the final few seconds but on both occasions Oxford hit back and the two sides will do battle again on Wednesday week.
“In the game generally we didn’t move the ball as well as we haven been doing but it has been a tough month for us,” said the Stanley boss.
“The lads have done great and we can’t forget that. They are young lads and they will learn, sadly you have to make mistakes to learn.
“We will sit down and try and make ourselves better.
“I was very, very pleased with the work ethic and the application.”
Richardson admitted he was left counting the cost of a late Oxford equaliser which denied his side an outright place in round three.
“We’re very, very disappointed,” he added. “We were that close to going through.
“When you score so close to the final whistle it’s disappointing not to win the game.
“On reflection it deserves to be a draw but it’s disappointing how you go in front and don’t win the game.
“We did offer a threat, we have played better, but Oxford came with a gameplan and we nullified that in a sense. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
But the Stanley boss admitted he was pleased still to be in the cup, a competition he places a lot of emphasis on. “You can see that the FA Cup is massive,” he added.
“If someone said ‘describe the FA Cup to me’ I would tell them to look at that 90 plus minutes. It must have been fantastic for the neutral, not so much for the two managers, and the two teams and the two sets of fans.”