DONCASTER Rovers boss Dean Saunders is likely to look to bring in a replacement keeper on loan this week.
Veteran No 2 Neil Sullivan, who sat out the club’s pre-season campaign with leg and hand problems, faces several weeks on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury during the warm-up in Saturday’s 2-1 League One win at Colchester United.
Saunders’ only cover for Gary Woods is last season’s youth team keeper Jon Maxted.
Saunders will be checking on striker Billy Paynter today ahead of tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane.
“He felt his thigh in training on Friday and I didn’t want to risk him on Saturday,” said Saunders. “He should be okay for tomorrow.”
James Harper (groin) had also been a doubt during the week and started the game on the bench, but came on for David Syers after 76 minutes.
Saunders revealed after the game that the in-form Syers, who had been sick overnight, had felt his calf during the game.
David Cotterill gave Rovers a flying start with a third-minute goal from 20 yards.
“It was a great goal,” enthused Saunders. “He had been doing that in training all week. It was a replica of the goal he scored at Rotherham in pre-season.
“He has been the best player in training for the last ten days and we are lucky to have him.
“I’d say we probably played as well as we have done all season in the first 15 minutes and I don’t think it was because we got an early goal. We’ve got some good players here and they just need time to knit together.”
Saunders is particularly pleased with how the club’s new-look defence is performing.
“They put pressure on us at the end and they played a lot of balls into the box and last season we’d probably lost the game,” he said.
“But we’ve brought in Rob Jones and Jamie McCombe this season and they just head the ball back up the pitch.”
Rovers’ first win in three league games saw them climb several places up the table, but Saunders, whose side have a game in hand over all the teams above them, says he’s not paying too much attention to the table.
“The table doesn’t start to take shape until after about ten games,” said Saunders. “It’s not really a true reflection at the minute.”