THE absence of unsung hero Paul Keegan will be felt at the heart of Rovers’ midfield tonight according to boss Brian Flynn.
The tenacious defensive midfielder will sit out tonight’s clash with MK Dons at the Keepmoat after suffering a dead leg in the 2-1 defeat to Walsall.
Keegan’s substitution sparked a shift in the balance of the game with the Saddlers suddenly enjoying more possession and going on to net the winner through Fabian Brandy.
Though often overlooked for plaudits, Flynn believes 28-year-old Keegan offers something different to his Rovers colleagues in protecting the backline.
“Paul is such a good professional, he knows exactly what is needed for the team,” Flynn said.
“Tactically he’s very aware of what the team requires.
“David Syers will break forward and the timing of his runs is excellent. But Paul offers something different to that.
“He’s particularly good in that defensive role to stop opposition attacks. He’ll be missed tonight.”
Keegan is expected to return to fitness in time to make the Crawley match next Monday night.
And he could be joined by Syers and Iain Hume, who are both progressing well in their recoveries from respective ankle and calf injuries.
Flynn identified several ‘danger signs’ during the defeats to Walsall and Bury but is confident they have been addressed ahead of the clash with stuttering Dons.
He said: “We’ve had a positive response from the players out on the training ground.
“They’ve now got a clear idea of what is expected of them. They just needed polishing up on a few things and we’ve emphasised exactly why we’re top.
“These are easy problems to solve and they will be resolved tonight.
“It’s not tactical or mental, it’s something that has crept in that will be gone against MK Dons.
“We’ve become accustomed to going ahead in games and having the strength of character in the later stages to go on and win games.
“We need to do the right things to make sure we get back in that kind of position.”