DAVID Flitcroft feels the intensity provided by Donal McDermott’s style of play would be much missed by Swindon Town, should the midfielder be forced into a spell on the sidelines.

McDermott suffered an injury just eight minutes after coming on as a substitute in the second half of Town’s 4-2 victory away at Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night.

Although no diagnosis was possible in the immediate aftermath of the match at the Memorial Stadium, Flitcroft conceded the injury was a real cause for concern.

McDermott came off second best in a challenge with Rovers midfielder Chris Lines, with other Town players instantly signalling to the bench that the 28-year-old would not be able to continue.

Irishman McDermott has featured in all five of Town’s recent successive victories, starting the League Two triumphs over Wycombe Wanderers and Port Vale as well as the FA Cup win at Dartford last weekend.

Flitcroft feels the in-your-face nature of McDermott’s game has been a key component of Swindon’s success of late, so his possible absence would be hard felt by the team.

“I don’t know the damage but certainly the players’ reaction was to get Don off the pitch as it didn’t look good,” said Flitcroft.

“For me, in this run of games, he has been the fire-starter. He has been the one that goes and presses with that aggression that I have wanted to bring to the football club.

“He epitomises what I am as a person – a never-say-die attitude and a completely no-fear approach to what he does. He is a man’s man.

“He has gone into a tackle and come out the wrong side of it.”

Timi Elsnik played an hour against Rovers after shaking off a knee injury sustained at Dartford, although Harry Smith was an unused substitute at the Memorial Stadium after complaining of a sore groin in the latter stages of that previous FA Cup victory.

Flitcroft revealed the striker would continue to be monitored to see if he can feature in Saturday’s League Two clash at home to Chesterfield.

Meanwhile, Luke Norris and Chris Hussey have stepped up their training load after lay-offs because of shoulder and groin injuries respectively.

“Harry has not done any training since Dartford,” said Flitcroft.

“We think we are where we need to be with the injury but Friday will be a big call whether he trains or not.

“Chris is getting nearer. He had a specialist meeting up in Sheffield on Tuesday so we are waiting on the report of that, but Chris is doing well.”

With the Swindon squad having a shorter turnaround after a midweek fixture for the Chesterfield clash compared to their usual Tuesday night match slots, Flitcroft says preparation will be more important than ever against the Spireites.

“The biggest thing is recovery and making sure we get that right,” said Flitcroft.

“We will have a small training group on Thursday and Chris Neville (head of performance) will get the rest of the lads spinning and in the pool and get the recovery with the food and hydration.

“It’s important we get the right dosage of work into the boys for another big game on Saturday. It’s one we really want to win and we will do everything we possibly can to do that.”