Friend eager for return

Reece Wabara tries to stop George Friend
Reece Wabara tries to stop George Friend
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DONCASTER Rovers’ star George Friend, currently laid off with a knee injury, can’t even take his frustrations out on his electronic drum kit.

“I can’t use the bass drum pedal because it’s my right knee that’s in a brace,” said the 23 year-old defender.

The former Wolves’ defender, equally at home at left-back or centre-back, got 2012 off to the worst possible start by suffering a medial knee ligament injury in the opening game of the year against derby rivals Barnsley at the Keepmoat Stadium.

What made the injury, which fortunately didn’t require surgery, more frustrating was the fact that it was his first start for a number of games.

With Sam Hird having grabbed his chance to impress manager Dean Saunders, alongside veteran Aston Villa loanee Habib Beye at centre-back, and West Ham United loanee Herita Ilunga showing up well at left-back, Friend had been keeping the bench warm in the final few weeks of 2011.

Friend hopes to be back in training in around five weeks’ time: “I will have a better idea of when I could be back after I’ve seen the specialist. and hopefully have the brace off, in a week or so,” he said.

“It’s frustrating and I want to get back playing football as soon as I can because we need everybody on board in our battle against relegation.

“Unfortunately I’m going to miss the next month or so at least and that is going to be a crucial stage of the season.

“It is vital that, at the very worst, we don’t allow ourselves to become adrift of the teams just above the relegation zone.

“But hopefully we’ll pick up a few wins and climb out of the bottom three which would give everyone a boost.

“Our home form has been good in the last couple of months; we just need to repeat that away.”

Although Friend welcomed the hard-earned point in last week’s game at high-flying Hull City, he readily admits that one point from seven games on the road is nowhere near good enough.

“The manager has said he thinks that another nine wins should be good enough to keep us up but if we aren’t picking up any away it is obviously going to put added pressure on home games,” he said.

“I don’t think that teams like coming to the Keepmoat. But the last thing we want is to put too much pressure on ourselves at home.”