Doncaster Rovers: Ferguson's tribute to 'incredibly strong' Matty Blair

Matty Blair in action against Gillingham.
Matty Blair in action against Gillingham.

Darren Ferguson described Matty Blair as 'incredibly strong' for the manner in which he has coped with the death of his brother.

Ross Blair died last Saturday at the age of 32 after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.

Rovers winger Matty started the goalless draw with Gillingham, earning praise from boss Ferguson.

"He's incredibly strong," Ferguson said. "He really is. He's an incredibly strong boy.

"Next week will be difficult for him but he's got through the game and there aren't many professionals who could have done what he did.

"That goes for how he's trained during the week as well.

"It is sad and he's dealt with it in his own way.

"Individually, Matty has coped with it the best way that he can.

"He's got a very close family. These things, when it is your family, are hard to deal with."

Ferguson says he will make a small number of changes to his side for Tuesday night's Carabao Cup trip to Bradford City.

But - with his brother's funeral due to take place on Wednesday - the decision on whether Blair features will come down to the player himself.

"That will be his decision," Ferguson said. "I need to see how the boy is.

"There are some things more important that a game of football.

"It'll be a conversation between me and the boy.

"But sometimes training and playing games can be the release you need.

"It'll be his decision. I'll speak with him on Monday morning and see how he is.

"We've all tried to help him to the best we possibly can as a football club - the board, the staff, the players - because we are a good group.

"Our thoughts go to his family and Matty himself."

Saturday's clash with Gillingham began on a sombre tone with the day dedicated to club co-owner and president Dick Watson, who died last month at the age of 75.

A minute's applause was held for Mr Watson, whose funeral will take place on Tuesday.

"I think the reception Dick got today was worthy," Ferguson said.

"He's been a big help for this football club. I think everyone is aware of that.

"I saw his family before the game and it was going to be a tough day for them but I felt what the club put on was absolutely right.

"It would be wrong for me to not say it would have been nice to get a win for him and his family.

"It's been a little bit difficult, with that side of things."