DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders was set to carry out a head count at today’s training session ahead of tomorrow’s second pre-season friendly at Grimsby Town.
In addition to being ‘hopeful’ of being able to bring in a couple of new signings this week, Saunders is hoping Robbie Blake and Tommy Spurr - both left out of Saturday’s game as a precaution after reporting ‘tightness’ in their thigh muscles - and James Coppinger (virus) and James O’Connor (migraine) will be available to play some part against the Mariners.
But centre-back Shelton Martis, who faces several weeks on the sidelines after suffering a calf injury in training late last week, will again be missing.
Saunders was forced to name both himself and his assistant Brian Carey in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Cleethorpes so the bulk of his players weren’t asked to play more than 45 minutes against the newly-promoted Northern Counties East Division One side.
Both men took to the field in the second half with Saunders coming on as a late replacement for young defender James Husband, who started to suffer from cramp having been on since the start.
The former Welsh international scored Rovers’ third goal to make it 3-0 to win himself ‘several hundred’ pounds in bets with his bench,
“It was nice to score; I’d forgotten what it was like to score in front of a crowd.” joked the Rovers’ boss.
“The shirt was a bit tight, and I’m not in the best of condition but I will be in a couple of weeks time.
“It has been a good work-out and I’ve earned myself a few hundred quid so it’s been a good day for me all round.”
Despite a couple of the Cleethorpes players losing their cool at times, Saunders voted the club’s first ever visit to the Bradley Community Stadium a success.
“It’s part of the game; just like the old days,” he said.
“There were a couple of bad tackles but you have to stand up for yourself within the rules, I’d come here again.
“It’s a lovely stadium and there was a good crowd, including a lot of Doncaster supporters which I was pleased about, and hopefully they will have made some money because clubs at their level need all the help they can get.”
The game broke with Rovers’ recent tradition of playing their first game against a locally-based NCEL team, but Saunders said it was a case of Cleethorpes, who moved to the recently opened stadium during the close season, being quick off the mark in offering to host a game against them.