ALEX Bray’s Plymouth Argyle career was among the shortest in the club’s history.At most it lasted five days, from when the Bath-born teenager put pen to paper on his deadline day loan move from Swansea City.
In terms of gametime, it was barely a dozen minutes. He replaced Jason Banton just prior to the hour mark of Argyle’s 1-0 win at Luton Town, and 12 minutes later limped off having sustained what we now know to be a serious knee injury which is likely to rule him out for six months.
John Sheridan was Bray’s boss for less than a week, but passed on some words of encouragement to a player that was only fleetingly his.
“I’m disappointed for Alex more than anything else,” said John. “I thought he came on and looked bright. Since the day he came in he looked bright in training. It’s a crying shame. I’ve spoken to Alex and told him to stay positive. He’ll get the best treatment from Swansea.
“The lads were gutted for him. I know he was a new player to us, but he was a nice kid and settled in well from day one.
“It’s just of them unfortunate things. I remember Jamie Lowry doing it at Chesterfield when he was my best player. I probably would have ended up selling him for five hundred grand. He did it in the last minute of a practise match on a Friday with no-one near him, a bit like Alex the other day.
“It’s an injury that surgeons now can get round. Years ago your career could be at a standstill. There’s lots of players that have come back. (Alan) Shearer is a prime example, and Phil Jagielka has done it and is playing at the top level still. If you get the right treatment you can come back stronger.”
Prior to Alex’s arrival, the manager had spoken of his desire to add a right-sided midfielder to his squad. With the sudden nature of Bray’s arrival and departure, this wish has been granted, only to be snatched away.
“At this moment in timer everyone is fit and fighting for places,” said John. “(Deane) Smalley is looking strong and Marvin (Morgan) is looking well again.
“I’ve mentioned that a right sided winger was the priority, so after Alex’s injury I feel as though I need to bring someone in. We need one or two players to give us a bit of strength in depth.”