ROVERS: Six of the best on way back

Martin Woods: Given a specialist's clearance to step up training.   Picture: Liz Mockler
Martin Woods: Given a specialist's clearance to step up training. Picture: Liz Mockler
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DONCASTER Rovers’ training session ahead of tomorrow’s Championship game against Portsmouth looked more healthy than of late.

James Coppinger, Neil Sullivan, Matt Kilgallon, Mark Wilson, Wayne Thomas and Joseph Mills, all trained with the rest of the squad - though how many of them will come into contention for the Pompey game remains to be seen.

“We’ve been used to training with less than ten, which is not ideal, but we’ve had double figures today for the first time in a long time,” said Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll.

Midfielder Martin Woods has been given clearance by his specialist to step up his training.

But centre-back Shelton Martis faces several several more weeks on the sidelines.

Said O’Driscoll: “He’s got an unstable ankle which we need to try and strengthen so it will be another two or three weeks.

“The idea is probably to try and get him through the season and then have a look at what we can and can’t do.”

Full-back Mustapha Dumbuya has been referred back to his specialist after his knee, due to the fact that the knee which was operated on late last year, swells up every time the club step up the speed of his running.

Rovers, who won 3-2 at Fratton Park in November, will be seeking a first-ever double over last season’s FA Cup runners-up and on paper they will probably never have a better chance.

Pompey have picked up just two points since the start of the year, as well as being dumped out of the FA Cup, and have not won since beating Norwich at Carrow Road two months ago

But O’Driscoll is not taking anything for granted despite their recent results.

“They’ve had a fantastic squad all season but they’ve obviously got one or two problems which are unique to them and unique to teams coming out of the Premier Division,” he said.

“It’s difficult to know the full extent of what they can and can’t do (financially) from where we sit,” he said.

“But on paper they’ve got a team which is capable of challenging in a very difficult and competitive league. So we’ve got to treat them as we did in the game at Fratton Park.

“They are one of the strongest teams in the division with t the likes of Dave Kitson, Liam Lawrence and David Nugent, all big Premier Division players in the past, and they’ve got other quality players as well.”

Despite the loan market being open again, O’Driscoll admits that his options to strengthen his squad are limited.

“Finance is the big thing for us,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to fund new players.”