DONCASTER Rovers’ defender Tommy Spurr is the only ever-present in the club’s back-four this season.
It is not only his durability, but his versatility which has proved invaluable for Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders.
The left-back has helped Rovers out on several occasions this season by switching inside to centre-back to cover for injuries, as was the case in what Saunders described as the ‘battle of the Alamo’ at Prenton Park on Tuesday.
Although Rovers will go into tomorrow’s game against Notts County at Meadow Lane likely to be lacking two of their first-choice defenders as well as centre-back Shelton Martis, they will be boosted by the fact that they have picked up ten points from their last four games.
Their six-point haul from the 2-1 win over Brentford at home on Saturday and their 2-1 victory away to their rival Rovers, previously unbeaten at home, will be particularly pleasing considering the fact that both looked very good sides and both are expected to be in the mix at the end of the season.
As was the case on Tuesday, where Rovers came under tremendous pressure, they could easily have lost against the Bees.
“We didn’t play well but we ground out a result,” said Spurr. “We’ve got the character in the side now which means that we can dig in and work hard to try get a result when things are not going well.
“We did that after going behind. We defended well and didn’t concede a second goal and Cotts (David Cotterill) stuck one in from 30 yards and then Billy (Paynter) nicked one at the end.”
Spurr admits that Cotterill’s calf injury, which is likely to keep him out for several weeks, took some of the gloss off Tuesday’s win at Prenton Park.
“He’s done well,” said the former Sheffield Wednesday star. “He’s scored a few goals and set up some as well and it’s good to have him in the team because he does a lot of things for the team which probably a lot of people don’t realise. He tracks back and does a lot of work to help out the right back.”
Tuesday’s win at Tranmere saw Rovers climb into a play-off place with a game in hand over the five teams above them.
“We’ve got off to a great start considering the players who left during the summer and I think as the season goes on we’ll get stronger,” said Spurr - a £200,000 signing last summer.
“Were we to pick up another win at Notts County, making it nine points from three really tough games, it would send out a warning to the other clubs.
“It’s a long season with 46 games and it’s not just about three games,” he said. “But obviously were we to beat Notts County we’d have beaten two of the teams expected to be up there in five days.
“We aren’t getting too far ahead of ourselves, though and are taking each game as it comes but I think that we are more than capable of getting a result at Meadow Lane.
“We don’t fear anyone in this league and we are confident in our own ability and we feel that we can go anywhere and pick up results.
“Although Notts County have got some good players, a few of whom they brought in during the summer like we did, our away form is good as we’ve shown prior to the Tranmere game by going to Bramall Lane and digging in for a 0-0 draw against Sheffield United without playing anywhere near our best.”
Depending on the injury situation, Spurr could find himself playing at left-back or at centre-back, as was the case at Prenton Park.
“I’m happy to play anywhere to help the team and I’ve no problems playing at centre-back alongside Rob Jones. We both talk during a game which you have to do at centre-back, and I’ve think I’ve done okay when I’ve played there.
“But left-back is my preferred position because I like to be involved more and I feel that I am at full-back because I’m able to get forward more and get crosses into the box and hopefully set up chances whereas you have to stay back if you are playing at centre-back apart from set-pieces where Rob is always a threat in the air.
“It’s the same at the back; he heads everything which comes into the box and he’s good to play alongside. He’s proved a really good signing for us which I knew that he would be,”