Doncaster Rovers: '˜Unlucky' Mathieu Baudry backed to show his class
His signing was one of the most eye-catching of the summer in League Two but things have not gone quite to plan for Mathieu Baudry.
An impressively classy defender, particularly for the level, his arrival at Doncaster Rovers was expected to usher in a new era of composure at the back.
But he was struck down with injury during pre-season and missed the first ten games of the campaign.
There has been a feeling he has been playing catch-up ever since, only demonstrating his quality in flashes.
Last weekend against Exeter City, Baudry dropped back to the bench with boss Darren Ferguson opting to recall Joe Wright to play alongside Andy Butler.
“He understood why I didn’t play him on Saturday,” Ferguson told The Star. “He wasn’t happy about it but I never expected him to be.
“To be fair, the form of other players has been good.
“Butler has been outstanding – probably one of our best players this season, the most consistent, certainly defensively.
“And Joe has done well with him.
“I looked at where we’d conceded quite a few goals. Not that it was Mathieu’s fault but it just coincided that when he came into the team, a lot of goals were being conceded.
“I looked that Joe and Andy had played quite a while together, and played quite a few games.
“And Baudry had played quite a lot of games in succession after coming back.”
Ferguson feels the French defender has been unlucky since arriving at the Keepmoat after leaving Leyton Orient.
And while his start to life with Rovers may have been slow, Ferguson believes he will still prove himself to be a quality player.
He said: “If he didn’t get the injury, you’d expect him to be flying.
“I think he’s a very good player at this level and he could cope very easily with the one above.
“I think he’s found it very frustrating that he had the injury for so long. And then he came back into the team against Blackpool and, through no fault of his own, we’ve put in a really poor performance and conceded four.
“Then he’s played against Wycombe and we’ve conceded two.
“When you go back into the team after injury and the team starts conceding goal and doesn’t win games, it can be a bit unnerving for him.
“But as I say, it’s through no fault of his own.
“He’s not done that much wrong. I think he’s done ok in games.
“He’s a really good player and I’ve no doubts about him having a really good season.”
Ferguson anticipates having plenty of selection headaches ahead when it comes to the make-up of his defence.
Craig Alcock has now returned to full fitness and is another potential centre half, having performed so well in the role last season.
But even choosing between Baudry, Wright and Butler is going to be tough for the Rovers boss.
“I’ve got decisions to make,” he said. “Between the three of them, I’m going to have a difficult decision most weeks.
“My decision can be based on different things such as the opposition and how they play.
“I feel Baudry is the best at coming out from the back with the ball, so that can have a baring on things.
“With centre halves, you want to form a partnership.
“Joe and Butler have played many games together. Alcock and Butler did it last season.
“It can be difficult to do because of injuries and changes of formation.
“I’m finding it difficult to sustain playing a similar back four.
“It’s something I really want to do if I can.”
Ferguson is confident Butler will be fit to face Hartlepool United this weekend after being withdrawn at half time at Exeter with a neck injury.