DONCASTER Rovers’ Championship prospects received a boost yesterday afternoon when Spurs’ striker/midfielder Ryan Mason joined the club on a season-long loan.
The 20 year-old drove up to Doncaster upon agreeing the move, after the two clubs had come to an agreement, and could feature in tonight’s final warm-up game against Grimsby at Blundell Park.
Mason picked up a a slight thigh injury during Spurs’ pre-season tour to Portugal and his fitness will be assessed at this morning’s training session at Cantley Park.
But with the start of the season just over a week away, Rovers will not risk Mason tonight if there is any doubt about his fitness.
Mason spent much of last season on loan at Doncaster, though he returned to White Hart Lane after a few weeks for treatment on a back injury and didn’t return to the club until the second half of the season.
The former England Under-19 international played mainly off the bench until grabbing his chance with both hands when starting in the Easter Monday derby at Oakwell.
Although only slightly built - an initial worry of manager Sean O’Driscoll - the London-born player showed in the run-in that he could not only handle the physical aspect of Championship football, but that he could cause problems for the best of defences with his pace and ball control. He also caught the eye with his long-range shooting.
Tonight’s game will mark a return to one of the club’s Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly turned out for during his playing career.
“It is always nice to go back there,” said O’Kelly. “They were always a nice friendly club when I was there.
“I made some good friends during my time there and I always keep an eye on their results.
“It was disappointing to see them drop out of the Football League but I’m sure that they’ll bounce back..”
O’Kelly, however, will be more interested in Rovers than the Mariners tonight.
“We are looking for a continuation of the build-up so far to the start of the season at Brighton,” he said,
“We’ll be looking for stability and that the players have an understanding of what they are doing. Every game and every training session is a little test.
“You play a game and you review it and learn from it and try to improve the next time.
“We hopefully put a few things that were wrong at Carlisle on Saturday right at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.
“There are still things that we need to work on as a group, such as making sure that the new members of the squad know what they are doing and generally making sure that we go into the first game of the season full of confidence.”