Doncaster RLFC: Fringe benefits boosting Dons promotion hopes

Matty Welham

Matty Welham

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Dons boss Gary Thornton has praised the attitude of his fringe players as the club bids to bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt,

Non-contract backs Aaron Jones-Bishop, Matty Welham, Reece Williams and Mitch Vincent, who only get paid when they play, have featured in only a handful of games between them at the League One club this season.

“Obviously they are not happy because they aren’t playing and I feel for them,” said Thornton.

“But we’ve got contracted players playing in their positions, such as full-back Tom Carr, centre Liam Welham and winger Louis Sheriff who are all playing well, and they’ve got to be something special to knock them out of the side.

“As I say I do sympathise with them but when we are trying to finish in the top four you can’t pick a team based on sympathy; you have to pick your best players.

“For the players currently missing out they’ve got to keep working hard in training and wait for their chance should one of the players currently playing either lose form or get injured.

“It’s different for the forwards because we operate a rotation system so players are only missing out every four or five weeks.

“What I will say is that the attitude of all the players, plus Kieran Cross who has missed out since we brought Ryan Wright in, has been first class.

“They turn up for training every week and whilst I know they are not happy at the lack of rugby, they don’t moan and are helping to contribute to our success by helping to make training very competitive and helping us to put on some opposed sessions when we’ve got 25-26 people available.

“The fact that we don’t have a reserve side doesn’t help, neither does the fact that the arrangement we have with Hull FC is not working as well as I would have liked.

“Although Connor Scott and Joe Pickets-O’Donnell played for their reserve side a fortnight ago, they’ve only been asking for a couple of players.

“Aaron has been playing with Yorkshire League side Milford on a dual-registration, so at least he’s playing regularly. We tried to get Kieran fixed up with his former club Toll Bar, where assistant coach Pete Green plays, but we were too late with his registration.”