ONE of the few bright spots, in what has been a gloomy time for Doncaster Rovers since the turn of the year, has been the return to fitness of defender James Chambers.
One of the club’s most consistent performers last season, Chambers missed the run-in after suffering a knee injury.
It was hoped at the time that rest would resolve the problem but it flared up when the right back resumed pre-season training in July and he was booked in for surgery.
Everything looked to have gone okay until Chambers suffered some reaction following his comeback game and he was put on an intensive six week rehabilitation programme with the warning that he faced further surgery if that failed to cure the problem.
“I always felt that I would get back but there were times I feared that I would miss most of the season,” he said.
“Thankfully the rehab worked and I just feel blessed that I’ve been able to get back playing.
“I think everyone who has had a lengthy injury lay-off is thankful to get back playing football again.
“I still don’t feel that I’m 100 per cent in terms of match fitness and sharpness. I just need to play more games and stay injury free.
“I missed a game recently but that was due to a bit of a back problem. It was nothing to do with the knee - that is fine.
“It is just that the rest of my body has had to come to terms with the fact that I am back training and playing again after a long time out injured.
“I do feel that it is coming in the last two or three games but it is hard trying to work on your fitness when you are playing Saturday and Tuesday.
“That’s why I’ve welcomed the fact that we haven’t had a midweek match this week because it has given me the chance to get in a hard week’s training and to continue to try and get my body into shape
“I’ve still got a few niggles due to the fact that I’ve come back in the manner I have - playing games rather than training because of the injury problems.
“I’m back playing again but I am still a bit short of what I expect from myself.”
Chambers is expected to be in the Doncaster side to entertain Portsmouth tomorrow and despite the Fratton Park club’s lowly position he is expecting a tough game.
“It is going to be a difficult game like most of the games are at this level.
“But if we get our attitude right, and concentrate, it is a game that we can win.
“They’ve got a lot of very good players who have played at the top level and like Ipswich, who we play on Tuesday, you’d expect them to be higher than they are.
“They are a big club with a big support base but that doesn’t always count for anything - it’s just 11 versus 11 on any given day and it is up to us to be better than them on the day.
“The fact that it will be Portsmouth’s first visit to the Keepmoat Stadium might give us a little bit of an advantage.
“Some players like to be familiar with the surroundings even if they are playing away, but we can’t rely on that having any affect on the outcome,
“We’ve not had the best of results of late and we need to get a few wins under our belt and try and go from strength to strength in our remaining games. There is still a lot to play for.”