Rob Jones is preparing for his second coming – just weeks after fearing his career was over.
Jones, 34, made his long-awaited return against Rotherham and has declared himself fit for Doncaster’s opener at Yeovil.
But that very nearly wasn’t the case for Rovers’ ‘Captain Marvel’, as Jones explains.
“There’s been some dark moments along the way, I’ll admit that,” said Jones, whose neck injury kept him sidelined for nine months.
“There have been times I’ve needed to be left on my own and times when I’ve needed someone to speak to.
“My wife has been brilliant through all of it. She understands me more than anybody else. It’s been tough and when you think about it you get a little bit emotional at times because there were points when you thought ‘is this it’?
“I think every footballer will tell you he wants to retire from playing football when he’s ready and not when someone else tells him to.
“Five weeks ago, when I didn’t get the all-clear when I expected to, that was the lowest I’ve been.
“That’s when I had to sit down and discuss what my future is going to hold.
“But on the flip side I’ve had 11 months doing my coaching stuff, watching games constantly, networking with people and getting my face around for when the time comes to step over that white line and move on to other things.
“I want to play football every week and I hate watching games when I can’t get involved but it’s done now. The line is drawn. I played 45 minutes on Saturday and I feel fantastic.”
Two summers ago Jones became one of the best free transfer signings in the club’s history, leading from the front as a tight knit squad battled their way to the League One title.
The skipper admits there are parallels between then and now.
He said: “There are similarities, I wouldn’t disagree with that, although there’s a lot of younger players this time around.
“Every team has to be judged on its own merits. That team [in 2012/13] will admit it wasn’t the best team in the division.
“But we didn’t half work hard. We didn’t half help each other, and the experience we had was vital.
“I think there’s a little bit less experience in this team at the moment. But we’re here to have a good go and that’s what we’re going to do.
“We want success at this football club just as every supporter does. If we have a right good go together and stick together we’ll be all right.”