Rovers get a timely break

Long-term absentee: Rovers defender James Chambers.                           Picture: Liz Mockler

Long-term absentee: Rovers defender James Chambers. Picture: Liz Mockler

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DONCASTER Rovers chairman John Ryan is keeping his fingers crossed the two-week international break will help ease the club’s injury crisis.

In the last month, the South Yorkshire outfit have been without 13 senior players.

John Ryan

John Ryan

Given the lengthy injury list, which includes James Chambers, Paul Keegan and leading goal-scorer Billy Sharp, who are ruled out for the rest of the campaign, it was no surprise manager Sean O’Driscoll opted to extend the loan deals of Franck Moussa and Jason Euell on Wednesday.

Rovers return to action a week tomorrow at Bristol City and Ryan hopes the injury situation will continue to improve before the team head to Ashton Gate.

“I think it (the break) has come at the right time because we have had a lot of injuries and plenty of games in a short period of time,” said Ryan.

“The squad has been down to the bare bones so this gives us a chance to draw breath and get some players back for the last eight games.

“We have had 12 to 14 players out since the beginning of January so it is remarkable that we have managed to keep everything ticking a long.”

Rovers, in 19th place in the table, are just nine points above the relegation zone with eight matches left.

Ryan has told The Star he wants a minimum of eight points to safeguard the club’s position in the second tier of English football.

He feels Rovers could have mounted a serious promotion challenge had they not been hit by a debilitating injury crisis.

“We have had a shocking run where we have almost had to fill the reserve team,” he said. “If you took 12 to 14 players out of any squad, then they would struggle.

“People like James Coppinger, Brian Stock and Billy Sharp are big players for us and we can’t afford to lose them for long periods of time.

“We want to finish the season as strongly as possible but as long as we get another eight points I’m not bothered. We can’t possibly be that unfortunate again next year. We have got to keep our heads above water and hopefully next season will be better.”

O’Driscoll added: “We have still got one or two players recovering from knocks and we hope they will clear up before the Bristol game because it’s a tough run-in with eight games in the last five weeks of the season.”

Rovers welcomed influential midfielder John Oster back into the first-team fray against table-topping Queens Park Rangers last week. He started after shaking off a calf problem whilst Neil Sullivan was recalled after overcoming an ankle knock.

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