Anxious wait for strikers

The two of us: Billy Sharp and James Hayter were carried off at Brighton to plunge Rovers into an injury crisis up front.     Picture: John Giles/PA
The two of us: Billy Sharp and James Hayter were carried off at Brighton to plunge Rovers into an injury crisis up front. Picture: John Giles/PA
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DONCASTER Rovers sniper Billy Sharp has a serious injury, possibly a broken leg, his manager Sean O’Driscoll says.

But the full extent of the wounds suffered by Sharp and team-mate James Hayter in Saturday’s game at Brighton are yet to be revealed.

The pair were stretchered off in the defeat; both had scans yesterday and will see a specialist.

“The specialist will look at the scans before determining whether he thinks it is worth doing an X-ray higher up Billy’s his leg to check for a possible fracture,” said O’Driscoll. “It’s a serious injury; but we don’t know how long he’ll be out.”

Commenting on the incident which led to Sharp’s injury, O’Driscoll said: “Billy was injured by a tackle, from behind and high, which they are trying to stamp out.”

Asked whether he felt the Brighton player involved should have received a red card rather than a yellow, O’Driscoll said: “The referee does what he does. I’m not trying to get a player sent off. I’d rather have a fit player. Whether the other player is sent off or receives a yellow card doesn’t solve my problem.

“Billy is a goal-scorer and it’s probably the first time that Doncaster have ever had a player valued at £3m.

“He’s the focal point of the attack so it’s a massive disappointment.”

Hayter, who was the club’s second top scorer behind Sharp last season, has a knee injury, though the club don’t know whether he has suffered ligament or cartilage damage.

Hayter was injured a couple of minutes from the end of normal time when there was contact with a Brighton defender when trying to score a late winner.

O’Driscoll admits that he will need to strengthen his squad and says he has been ‘inundated’ with names.

But added: “Until we know what we can and cannot do resource-wise then it’s difficult to target somebody.”

Rovers are hoping to have on-loan midfielder Ryan Mason availble for tonight;s Carling Cup tie at home to Tranmere.

“Ryan cramped up (in Saturday’s game),” said O’Driscoll. “You can play as many reserve games as you like but it’s different at Championship level.”

If the Spurs man, who is likely to have a late fitness test, is ruled out then 18 year-old summer signing James Baxendale could make his competitive debut in the battle of the Rovers.

Looking ahead to tonight’s game, O’Driscoll said: “I watched them play a young Manchester United team in pre-season and they were very athletic and full of energy.

“They are always difficult games this early in the season and it is made all the more difficult for us because of injuries.

“We had 16 for Saturday for Brighton and now we’ve lost two. I think that we are going to struggle to fill the bench (seven substitutes being allowed in the Carling Cup) with professionals.”

Chairman John Ryan, meanwhile, has appealed to the town’s football fans to turn out in their numbers tonight: “We need to make as much money as we can on the game to help us afford to bring in another striker to cover us whilst the two players are out,” he said.

Ryan is reported to have put over £1m of his own money into the club in recent weeks and whilst conceding that times are tough for many people in the current ecomic climate, he is now calling upon Rovers’ fans to do their bit.

He is urging as many supporters as possible to bring a friend or relation to the game.