THOSE Doncaster Rovers’ fans who travelled down to Huish Park on Saturday will have been delighted to see Shelton Martis’s name on the team sheet for the game against League One leaders Yeovil Town.
The big centre-back was one of four unused substitutes as Rovers fielded a full bench of senior players for the first time this season.
After missing virtually the whole of pre-season after picking up a calf injury, Martis admitted to The Star that he hadn’t expected to be involved.
“I’d only been back in full training for a couple of days after I’d been out for eight weeks so while it was good to be back, I wasn’t ready to start. I was hoping to come for a few minutes but I’ll have to wait for my chance,” he said.
“With us not having a game this weekend I’ve got two weeks to work hard in training. I did some work with Mal (Purchase) the fitness coach before I joined the rest of the squad late last week and I’m doing some extra work with him after training this week.
“Hopefully by the time the Colchester game comes around I should be fit to play, if not match fit. It would be nice to have a behind-closed-doors friendly before then if it was possible, but we’ve only got a small squad so I don’t know if we will.”
When fit, and playing well, the Dutch-born defender proved himself to be one of the best centre-backs in the Championship.
But he readily admits that he struggled at times last season due to a series of injuries and niggles.
“I was disappointed how last season turned out, both for the team and me personally,” he said. “That’s why I did a lot of hard work during the summer break and was feeling strong in all parts of my body and without any niggles when I reported back for pre-season.
“Then I made one movement in training and I felt straight away that it wasn’t good. When I found out what I had done I was devastated because I know how important pre-season is having missed it last year and only done half of it the year before.
“It was especially frustrating this year because not only couldn’t I train or play games, but the team didn’t have any recognised senior centre-backs for a lot of the pre-season games and we were having to play with a patched up back-four.”
Chairman John Ryan claims that he was only joking when he said he would give Kyle Bennett his Bentley if he scored 20 goals this season.
“I offered to take Kyle and his girlfriend for a run, not actually give him the car,” he said.