bench duty for new boy

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DONCASTER Rovers deadline-day signing Ryan Burge could find himself on the bench in today’s Championship encounter with Millwall.

Depending on the outcome of several late fitness tests, the 23-year-old, whose international clearance came through less than 48 hours after signing a short-term contract until the end of the season, could find himself in the frame for a place in Rovers injury-hit squad at the New Den.

Rovers decided to give the former Birmingham City midfielder the chance to establish himself back in the English game after seeing DVD footage of him and being impressed by him during a fortnight training with the squad last month during which time he played in a practice match against Scunthorpe United.

Prior to joining Rovers had been playing for Jerez Industrial - part of the Glenn Hoddle Academy - in the fourth tier of the Spanish League.

Asked what he will offer Rovers, he said. “I like to get on the ball and pass it and I also score a few goals, I can also defend. I was up there when I was younger but I had a big knee operation when I was 15 and it kept me out for about 18 months.”

Chased by both Manchester clubs before injuring his knee, Burge eventually signed a three-year deal with the Blues as a 17-year-old, but things didn’t work out as hoped.

“When I left Birmingham, for whatever reason, I wasn’t even offered a trial by any Premier League or Championship club so I had to go around the League Two clubs,” recalled Burge. “Glenn (Hoddle) then gave me the chance to sign with his academy.

“I sent my details to his website and he invited me to train and I played a game and it took off from there and I spent the last 18 months over there. It was a good move for me because as well as playing games in a league environment, Glenn was out there most days on the training pitch giving advice.”

Burge is hoping to prove Hoddle right by making the grade at Championship level.

“I’ve settled in well,” he said. “The training has been great. There is a lot of passing the ball and putting the ball in the right areas and it fits in with how I like to play.”

O’Driscoll said: “Technically Ryan (Burge) is very good and people like him don’t break the bank. If you are not going to produce your own players you need to look around and see if you can pinch one or two. If you put the time and effort into them, they sometimes come up trumps.”

O’Driscoll expects a tough game against the Lions: “Kenny (Jackett) will have been delighted with the results on their return to the Championship. I think he has got a team which work well together.”