Rovers defender O’Connor returns to full training

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DONCASTER Rovers’ defender James O’Connor has resumed full training this week.

The right-back/centre-back got the all-clear to start doing some light running last week following six weeks on the sidelines with a broken foot, and has come through two full sessions without any adverse reaction.

“It’s been frustrating,” he told The Star. “It is the longest time I’ve been out injured in my career

“This is my fifth season at the club and I’ve played something like 200 games, so I’ve been lucky with injuries and hopefully that will continue.

“It is not just playing in games that I’ve missed but I’ve also missed not being out there on the training ground.

“I am one of those players who look forward to training every day. There is a great camaraderie between all the players but I always think that you feel left out of if you haven’t been training with the lads, or you aren’t playing games.

“I’ve not set a comeback date; I just want to get back as soon as possible. The main thing is to make sure that my foot is right before I play again.

“I’ve been told to expect some discomfort for a while but it shouldn’t be a problem.

“I’m hoping by the time I’m back playing that we’ve secured our Championship status for another season.

“I know that I’ve been saying it all season, and some people might think that it is boring, but we need to get to the 52 or 53 point mark.

“We’ve still got a bit of work to do to get to that target. We’ve got quite a few tough games coming up starting with Cardiff on Saturday.

“I’m not one for talking about positions; we just want to get safe and then get as high as we can after that.

“With the season we’ve had with injuries we will have done well if we finish a few places above where we are now.

“I know that other teams have had injuries and it’s not just us. But it’s been a freak season. We’ve had 14 or 15 players out at some stages of the season this year - and they’ve not all been short term problems.

“Any side would struggle with the number of injuries we’ve had.”

O’Connor played in Cardiff when the Bluebirds handed Rovers an early season 4-0 beating.

“I don’t think the score reflected the game, but they were a quality side on the day,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of good players.

“They’ve got a strong back-line and some good players in midfield and with the front players they’ve got they are going to be a threat whoever they play.

“I don’t feel that we owe them one because of what happened down there, but obviously we’ll be hoping to beat them - not least because we need the points.

“But every game in this division is a tough game - especially when you are coming to the end of the season and there is a lot at stake with virtually every team having something to play for, be it bidding for promotion or fighting relegation.”

Whereas City would normally be happy with a point at the Keepmoat Stadium, O’Connor expects them to have a different mind-set on Saturday.

“When you’ve got the sort of quality that they have got, I’m sure that they go into every game thinking that they can win it whether they are playing against a team at the bottom of the league or at the top, “ he said.