DONCASTER Rovers could be forced to try and bring in a loan striker later today if record signing Billy Sharp fails a late fitness test.
Sharp revealed after bagging a brace in Tuesday’s 3-1 win against Derby County at Pride Park, that he had a hernia which was causing him problems with his groin.
Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll said that the club had been aware of Sharp’s hernia, which will require surgery, for some time.
“We don’t want his groin problem to get any worse because of the hernia,” said the Doncaster boss.
Sharp is hoping to delay surgery until the end of the season but O’Driscoll said: “I would be very surprised if he got through to the end of the season, but you never know; he’s that type of character.”
Depending on the ongoing situation, O’Driscoll hinted that the club may look into the possibility of getting the operation done during the international break later this month.
To compound Rovers’ problems, on-loan striker Jason Euell faces a couple of weeks on the sidelines with the knee injury which caused him to sit out the Derby game.
“We can’t afford to go into a game at Elland Road without a striker,” said O’Driscoll.
Both James Coppinger and James Hayter stepped up their training yesterday and O’Driscoll, though saying it wasn’t an ideal situation, didn’t rule out the possibility of one, or both, making the Rovers’ squad.
If Sharp does prove his fitness then O’Driscoll could resume his search for an experienced keeper as cover for veteran Neil Sullvan, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
O’Driscoll, however, doesn’t rule out the possibility of Sullivan being involved.
“Neil can play in goal; he just can’t kick the ball,” said O’Driscoll.
“It may be that we stick him on the bench because if we do get an injury (to Gary Woods), we’ve only got the youth team goalkeeper on the bench and Elland Road is not the ideal place to play a youth teamer.
Leeds are currently the top Yorkshire side in the Championship and O’Driscoll is under no illusioms about the size of the task facing his side.
“I thought that we were excellent when we played them at home. It was a 0-0 draw but I thought they shaded it.
O’Driscoll makes no secret of the fact that he rates Leeds’ midfielder Neil Killkeny - a Rovers’ target when at Birmingham.
“We’ve always liked Neil,” he said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t quite get him, but every time he is out of the side we make a cheeky enquiry just in case.”