Liam Hoden: Doncaster Rovers shouldn't let injury blows wash away summer of positivity

What a difference a few weeks makes in football.

Saturday, 6th August 2016, 8:00 am
Tommy Rowes arrival was a brilliant start to the summer.

Doncaster Rovers were at their lowest ebb for many years as they slumped out of League One on the back of a horrendous and unfathomable run of form.

But within a matter of days, things began to look up.

Luke McCulloughs injury has overshadowed things this week.

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The unexpected signing of Tommy Rowe kicked off a brilliant summer of business and suddenly the negative mood had been washed away by a wave of positivity.

It was quite remarkable to be around a club where relegation was so recent an event but seemed so distant in the memory.

With a raft of signings and a plethora of changes off the field, the focus was firmly on the future.

And then there was another dip in mood, one brought on by an injury issue which suddenly spiralled into crisis.

Luke McCulloughs injury has overshadowed things this week.

Rovers could find themselves kicking off the season with eight senior players missing. The latest injury victim, Luke McCullough, is out for the season.

It would be so easy for Rovers to wallow in self-pity as they prepare to enter the season under-strength.

But that should be avoided at all costs with the positivity of the early summer embraced and carried forward into the campaign.

There is a worry that a relegated club will suffer a hangover into the new season but that has not been on the cards for Rovers and nor should it be.

Sounds coming out of the club from players and manager alike suggest the squad has rolled with the punches when it comes to the injury blows.

While the depth of the squad may not be ideal when Rovers travel to Accrington Stanley this weekend, the starting XI will be strong.

Arguably, when the injured players return to fitness, they will be in a stronger position in League Two than they were last season in League One.

Defensively, they will have greater cover and more versatility. Mathieu Baudry and Joe Wright will give genuine competition at the back.

In midfield, the addition of Rowe has added Championship quality while Matty Blair will add something different and Riccardo Calder can accelerate his development with more game time while on loan from Aston Villa.

And up front, the partnership between Andy Williams and John Marquis looks promising.

Marquis offers something different to what Rovers have had in recent years – a strong physical presence.

And the way he plays should allow Williams to spend more time in the area where he is most lethal, rather than dropping deep to claim the ball.

Negativity consumed Rovers last season and certainly played a role in their 17 match winless run. There is no room for that this season with promotion a must.

This Rovers side has enough in it to make a strong charge for an immediate return to League One.

So let us all stay positive and believe it can happen.