DONCASTER Rovers will make at least one enforced change to their starting line-up for tonight’s crucial Championship clash at home to fellow strugglers Preston North End.
Defender Joseph Mills, who came off with a hamstring problem in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by visiting Cardiff, is definitely out and there are fears that he could miss the rest of the season.
“We are still waiting for the results of the scan, but physio John Dickens thinks he could be out for the season,” said Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll yesterday afternoon.
Right-back Mustapha Dumbuya could also be missing.
Dumbuya, who has only recently resumed playing after a three-month lay-off with a knee injury, reported that his hamstring felt tight after Saturday’s game and didn’t train yesterday.
He was due to be assessed again today and whilst Rovers are hoping that he reports fit they are unlikely to risk him if they feel that there is any likelihood that he aggravate the hamstring.
If Dumbuya is ruled out it could signal the return of James O’Connor after a two-month lay-off with a broken metatarsal.
Although Preston will arrive at the Keepmoat Stadium tonight second from bottom, their recent form - 10 points from their last five games, is more in keeping with a top-six side.
“It took Phil Brown a bit of time to turn things things around,” said O’Driscoll. “It took them 10 games to win a game but when you look at them now they are nice and balanced,
“There is usually an imbalance in the squad when you take over at a struggling club because of injuries and some people not having seen eye to eye with the previous manager, or whatever.
“For me the first thing at a new club is putting round pegs in round holes and asking players to do jobs they can do.
“It took Phil a while to bring in his own players and get them playing how he wants.
“He knows a lot of people in football and he’s probably called in a few favours.
“I’m sure that if they started the season with the squad, or the team, they’ve got at this moment in time they probably wouldn’t be in the position they are now.”
O’Driscoll expects Preston to come in search of all three points tonight in what is a real six-pointer for both clubs.
But says: ”I don’t think that they’ll change their approach because it has got them some good results of late.
“They’ll be nice and organised and well balanced and Iain Hume, who has scored six goals in the last six games, has given them added pace and work rate up front.
“It will be a difficult game for both sides because of what’s at stake.”
Preston will again lack skipper Sean St Ledger and defenders Leon Cort and David Gray, but welcome back striker Chris Brown.