Darren Ferguson insists he will take no chances with the fitness of Jordan Houghton – but admits he could start for Doncaster Rovers this weekend.
Houghton yesterday completed a full 90 minutes in Rovers’ Development Squad defeat to their Bradford City counterparts at Cantley Park.
And the 21-year-old will be assessed later in the week before a decision is taken on just how he will feature against Northampton Town on Saturday.
“He’s done his first 90 and the big thing is how he’ll be the next day, how he recovers and how he feels,” Ferguson told The Star.
“If he’s fine on Thursday morning, which I expect him to be, touchwood, then he will probably be in a position to give me a decision whether to start him or not.
“I’m not one for risking players unnecessarily.
“We’re only in the early stages of the season. He might only be on loan until January but the hope is to keep him longer than that.
“We’ll work on it with the physio and with Chelsea. There’s a lot of communication that goes on.
“But the big thing will be about how he recovers from playing his first full 90 minutes for six months.”
Prior to returning to Rovers on loan last week, Houghton played for 30 and 60 minute stints for Chelsea’s U23s as part of his recovery from knee ligament damage.
He came off the bench to play the final 31 minutes of Rovers’ draw with Peterborough United on Saturday before completing the whole game on Tuesday.
Fellow loanee Harry Toffolo did not play in the Development Squad game as expected with Ferguson opting to give him more time on the training ground.
He said: “Looking at his stats and what he’s done, Harry needed a full week’s training and not a game.
“He hasn’t had a full week for a while now. Before he joined us he had four days or so off with Norwich because of the international break.
“We feel giving him a full week’s training will benefit him more than playing in the game.
“But he’s available to start for us because he has been playing games.”
Issam Ben Khemis scored what proved to be the Development Squad’s consolation strike in a 2-1 defeat to Bradford.
Ben Khemis played the full 90 minutes along with fellow senior player Craig Alcock.