Nathan Ralph poised to start for Yeovil Town against AFC Bournemouth
Defender Nathan Ralph will have to “grow up quickly” before filling the void left by captain Jamie McAllister’s suspension on Saturday.
The young left back has been restricted to a handful of substitute appearances since joining Yeovil Town from Peterborough United in the summer, but is set to start against AFC Bournemouth in npower League One this weekend.
Skipper McAllister - another closed season arrival - will miss the clash with Cherries, as well as subsequent encounters with MK Dons and Leyton Orient after seeing red at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.
The Glovers played the final 15 minutes of their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success at the Memorial Stadium with ten men when McAllister was dismissed for raising his hands to close friend and opponent David Clarkson at a throw-in.
Yeovil manager Gary Johnson said he has every faith in Ralph’s ability but added the 19-year-old is faced with a big couple of days ahead of his full Football League debut.
Johnson said: “Nathan is buzzing, I should think. Sometimes young players get their opportunity and sometimes you get to see the young players when something like this happens.
“I have got every faith in Nathan Ralph that he will be a first division defender and I have no doubt he will be a first division player. We will see how it goes but he has got to grow up quickly in the next two or three days.”
Johnson conceded he did not see McAllister’s dismissal but said the Scot who played under the Huish Park boss at Bristol City would have to accept his punishment like any other player.
The Glovers led 1-0 through Ed Upson’s sublime free kick at the time, before the midfielder fooled former Glovers’ loanee Sam Walker in the Rovers goal to net another set-piece. Sam Foley completed the 3-0 win in injury time, profiting from Upson’s vision to chip Walker.
However, Yeovil failed to impress on an evening where they barely showed glimpses of their League One table-topping form, stumbling rather than surging into the next round.
Johnson said: “We broke them down more with ten men than we did with 11. We did show a bit of character at the end and the boys kept running.
“I didn’t see the sending off so I don’t know what it was but whatever it was of course I have got major complaints and he will take his fine like anyone else if you get sent off for petulance, if that is what it was and I will have to find out what it was.
“He is our captain and that is disappointing that he has done what he has done. He has been a great captain since the beginning of the season and we are going to lose him now for three games.”
Centre half Byron Webster was replaced by fit-again Chelsea loanee Rohan Ince shortly after the hour mark, complaining of a rib injury first aggravated in pre-season. Johnson said the switch was “more than a precaution”, with Webster complaining of breathing problems.
“He has had a bit of a problem with his ribs anyway so it was more than a precaution,” he said. “I didn’t take him off for a precaution as he wouldn’t have wanted to have come off just for a precaution.
“He found it hard to breath and when that happens you start to worry for them. We know we have got Incey who can sit there and do the job and we brought him in as cover at centre half. Other than that one poor ball forward where he slashed it, he looked quite strong.”
The Glovers will discover their JPT Trophy Second Round opponents on Saturday morning when the draw is made live on Sky Sports programme Soccer AM. Cheltenham Town, Torquay Athletic and Plymouth Argyle enter the hat after receiving byes beyond the First Round.