ROVERS players have been told to bulk up in a bid to avoid last season’s injury nightmare.
Head physio John Dickens told the Free Press this week that Doncaster’s squad would be expected to hit the gym more regularly - and take more responsibility for their own fitness levels.
Dickens also revealed that the club has requested an independent evaluation of the Keepmoat Stadium pitch after identifying the venue’s surface as a possible factor.
Rovers suffered one of their worst ever injury pile-ups last season and Brian Stock, Adam Lockwood, Shelton Martis and Martin Woods remain on the long-term casualty list.
Dickens said: “The emphasis this season will be on strength and conditioning programmes.
“We will try and work on getting the lads physically stronger.
“We knew when we came up to this league it was a stronger division in terms of the physical demands and we’ve doing this type of work with the players already - but this season we need to do more of it.”
Dickens and the club’s medical team held a summer inquiry into Rovers’ injury ravaged season and have made several recommendations to Sean O’Driscoll as part of an internal report.
Those recommendations include:
n investing more money into the gym at Cantley Park and placing more emphasis on improving the players’ strength and conditioning.
n re-evaluating the playing squad in terms of age and the high risk factors that may lead to injury.
n commissioning an independent evaluation of the Keepmoat Stadium pitch.
n and reinforcing the need for players to take responsibility for their lifestyles away from the club so they are in the best physical condition possible.
Dickens said that out of the 45 injuries suffered by Rovers last season more than half were unavoidable contact and twisting injuries, caused by going into tackles with the opposition.
Almost a quarter of the injuries were caused by overstretching or slipping - the majority of which occurred at the Keepmoat, which Dickens identified as a cause for concern.
Just one injury, Dickens said, was caused due to a player being fatigued or overworked, while one injury was caused in training.
Dickens said: “We’re not doing anything differently in pre-season, the figures show there’s no need to alter our training methods.
“The majority of our injuries last season were contact injuries - all we can do on that front is keep our fingers crossed that our players come through tackles unscathed.”