Woods blow hits Rovers

Abdominal problem: But Rovers hope George Friend can last out the season.     Picture: James Hardisty/YP
Abdominal problem: But Rovers hope George Friend can last out the season. Picture: James Hardisty/YP
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DONCASTER Rovers’ midfielder Martin Woods became the latest player to go ‘under the knife’ yesterday.

Woods, who hasn’t played since October with a groin related problem, was booked in for surgery following a visit a specialist on Tuesday after he had broken down again in training.

O’Driscoll is hoping that the problem, which has affected his groin, can be traced to a torn cartilage in Woods’ hip.

“Even though Martin would be out for two or three months that would be the best case scenario,” said the Rovers’ boss.

Woods may not be the last Rovers star to be operated on before the end of the season.

O’Driscoll confirmed reports that defender George Friend will need surgery for a lower abdominal wall injury.

The club have cut Friend’s training schedule and are hoping that he can make it through until the end of the season,

Better news for O’Driscoll ahead of tomorrow’s testing game against Bristol City as Ashton Gate is that centre-back Wayne Thomas has trained all week and will come into contention for a place in the Rovers side.

Fellow defender James O’Connor, ruled out for the last six weeks with a broken foot, has been given the all clear by his specialist on Tuesday to resume light running this week.

Although few sides have suffered as badly with injuries as Rovers this season, tomorrow’s opponents have also had their troubles with £2.25m striker Nicky Maynard missing much of the campaign due to injury.

“They paid a lot of money for him and you usually get quality when you spend that amount of money,” said O’Driscoll.

“He’s somebody that they’ve missed whilst he’s been out and (manager) Keith (Millen) will have been counting the days to get him back.

“His return has coincided with their best run of form this season.”

O’Driscoll is quick to stress, however, that the Robins are by no means a one-man team.

“When you looked at their squad at the start of the season, you would have thought that they were going to be there or thereabouts,” he said, “But unless you are very lucky it’s never a smooth ride.

The corresponding fixture last March resulted in a 5-2 win for Rovers - their first success at Ashton Gate since the 1983-84 season.

Neither camp is expecting a similar score tomorrow.

Said O’Driscoll: “When you compare our team tomorrrow to last year we’ll have less firepower, so we’ll have to try and come up with different ways of trying to get a result.”