MIDFIELDER Paul Keegan is likely to be among the first names on manager Sean O’Driscoll’s team sheet for Saturday’s Championship game at Millwall - even though he has started just once for the South Yorkshire club.
The former Bohemians’ star, who joined Rovers on a short-term contract at the end of last month, made an outstanding debut in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Burnley at the Keepmoat Stadium standing in for the injured Mark Wilson.
“I was happy with my performance,” said Keegan.
“I thought that I got a lot of tackles in and worked hard and was delighted that we got the win; that was the most important thing.
“It became a bit of a battle towards the end but it doesn’t matter how you win games at this stage. We needed the three points and that’s what we got.
“I thought that we did well in the first half and I thought that we stopped them playing.
John (Oster) did well and it was good to see Stocky (Brian Stock) back in the team.
“John’s brilliant on the ball and it’s important that we get the ball to him so that he can do his stuff.
“He was excellent going forward and I thought that he linked up very well with Copps (James Coppinger). They did well together.”
“I thought it was a lot better than the Barnsley game, where I came on a second half substitute, and we got the win as well.
“We knew that they were a good team and that they have been playing very well, “But we did our homework on them and, as I say, we played very well and deserved the three points.”
Young keeper Gary Woods also made his starting debut for Rovers after being sat on the bench all season, and Keegan thought he did well.
“It was brilliant for him to keep a clean sheet (on his debut) and he did really well,” he said.
“He didn’t show any nerves and his kicking was very good and he’ll be delighted to get that game under his belt.”
He added: “We’ve got to try and build on the Burnley win and try and pick up three more points against Millwall on Saturday. It is going to be another hard game but they are all hard games and they are coming thick and fast.”
Rovers remain in the bottom half of the table, but claimed Keegan: “Another couple of wins and you never know it could push us right back up the table.
The game marked skipper Brian Stock’s return to action after being out for a month with a calf injury picked up in an off-the-ball foul in the New Year’s Day win over Scunthorpe United.
But Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll says that he wouldn’t have featured but for Keegan.
“The only way we could have played Brian was with Paul Keegan,” he said.
“I think he was the catalyst which let Brian play because he took over the defensive responsibilities taking care of Chris Eagles, who I had watched last Saturday against Burton (in the FA Cup) and he was the difference between the two sides.
“So bringing Paul in allowed Brian a little bit of an easier role. Without Paul we probably wouldn’t have risked Brian who had only trained twice, maybe three, times, and it wasn’t ideal.”
Millwall, who suffered a stoppage-time defeat against Norwich City - who climbed into second place on the back of their 2-1 win over the Lions - could be without top scorer Steve Morison in Saturday’s game at the New Den.
The striker hobbled off looking to be in some discomfort at Carrow Road after just 16 minutes following a heavy knock.