Harry Toffolo has not been fit enough to play a greater role in Doncaster Rovers matches since his arrival, Darren Ferguson has revealed.
The full back has made just one start since his loan move from Norwich City last month and has managed two further substitute appearances with game time totalling 92 minutes.
And Ferguson revealed a lack of fitness has prevented Toffolo from making more appearances over the last four weeks.
“Harry was not fit enough to be honest,” Ferguson told The Star.
“He missed a large chunk of pre-season.
“We had to act quickly when Danny Andrew got injured.
“We looked at different options, we had different options.
“But Harry ticked a lot of boxes. He’s got good experience in the league, can play wing back or left back – those were the main things.
“Chucking him in at Northampton, I thought he could handle that because I thought we’d have a lot of the ball which we did but the way the game started didn’t help.
“Then I just felt when I spoke to him again that we needed to get him up to speed.
“He’s a lot fitter now, a lot better place and he’s in a much better position to start a game.”
The full back area at Rovers has come under scrutiny in recent weeks with defensive errors proving costly.
While Matty Blair is certainly a more attack-minded player than a defensive one, Ferguson feels he has the right balance at the back with Niall Mason operating on the opposite flank.
“I think we’re a bit more conservative on one side than the other with Niall sitting a bit more than Matty, who is more of a wing back,” Ferguson said.
“I think the balance in the full back areas has been fine.
“I’ve got other options with Craig Alcock, Tyler Garratt and Harry Toffolo. I need to think about being consistent in a back four or back three. At the moment it’s Mason and Blair.
“Against Shrewsbury the game was too open in the middle of the pitch for my liking, which is something we need to address.
“I don’t want games being end-to-end. I want us compact at all times.
“I’d say that was more of an area I though needed attention after Tuesday.”