Paul Keegan could hand Doncaster another much-needed injury boost by returning to the side against Wigan this weekend.
The midfielder played for an hour in Tuesday’s 2-0 reserve win against Shrewsbury Town following two months out with a hamstring injury.
Keegan’s protective qualities in midfield have been sorely missed, with Rovers keeping just one clean sheet in the 12 games that the Dubliner has been forced to sit out.
And the 29-year-old’s ability to disrupt opposition’s attacks could be very useful this weekend.
Wigan’s fluid frontmen, which will include Manchester United loan star and former Doncaster target Nick Powell and ex-Rovers loanee Marc-Antoine Fortune, like to drop deep into space and link play,
And Keegan is without doubt the most qualified Doncaster midfielder when it comes to sniffing out danger and doing some of the ugly graft that has been missing for Rovers since the Irishman last featured against Barnsley in early November.
That soft centre was exposed most notably in the subsequent defeats to Charlton, Bolton and Ipswich - but Keegan’s impending return should make Rovers a much tougher proposition.
Keegan is likely to replace Marc De Val Fernandez in the starting line-up if he convinces Paul Dickov he is fit enough to return.
Dickov was boosted by the return of fit-again James Husband and James Coppinger at Ewood Park and, with Jamie McCombe returning alongside Keegan in the reserves this week, there at last appears to be some light at the end of the injury tunnel.
Paul Quinn, however, is struggling to shake off a knee problem in time to face the Latics, with new addition Gabriel Tamas in line to start at right back.
Rob Jones is targeting a return at Blackpool next week after getting the all-clear from a specialist earlier this week.
Wigan were expected to sign Nicky Maynard this week after allowing Grant Holt to join Aston Villa on loan.