Doncaster Rovers: Ferguson's test of nerve thanks to loan changes
The true impact of changes to the loan system were never likely to be felt until the new rules fully came into play.
And this is the guinea pig season.
With emergency loans now abolished for Football League clubs, temporary switches can only be made during the two transfer windows, tying clubs into six month deals.
The practice of covering injuries with loans has ended and borrowing players will now solely be used to boost squad numbers at the start and mid-point of the season.
But suppose your team has suffered a raft of injuries in pre-season and is set to be light on numbers for several weeks after the new campaign kicks off.
That is the situation facing Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson who could be without eight senior players when his side lines up at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
With a full complement of players, Ferguson had been looking to make two loan signings before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
But he now faces a dilemma over which areas to cover and whether to push for further loan additions which could imbalance his squad.
“You’ve got to make sure you’ve got enough numbers,” Ferguson told The Star.
“The issue you have now I find is that you may have a couple of injuries or two or three players that may miss the first month of the season but you hav e to take loans for six months.
“You can be a little bit unbalanced.
“But the one thing is you know what you start with is what you’ve got, or from the end of August anyway.
“So we’ve still got a bit of time on that, we’re only just into August.”
A striker has long been on Ferguson’s agenda with Andy Williams, John Marquis and Liam Mandeville his choices in attack.
Rovers are currently particularly light in defence with Mathieu Baudry, Craig Alcock, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Luke McCullough all injured.
Baudry will miss at least the first fortnight of the season with an Achilles issue, Alcock is out for at least three months with an ankle problem, Taylor-Sinclair will miss the rest of the year with ligament damage while the full prognosis of McCullough’s knee problem has yet to be revealed.
McCullough’s injury – suffered last week at York City – has also left Rovers short of defensive midfielders with Paul Keegan and Harry Middleton also struggling to make the start of the season.
Whether Rovers will make additions before Saturday is at the mercy of parent clubs.
Ferguson said: “It depends on the clubs and how quickly we can get them.
“We’ve been at games. We’re working away trying to get the right ones in.”