Another blow for Doncaster Rovers on long term injured trio
Richie Wellens has admitted it is unlikely that long term absentees Jon Taylor, Fejiri Okenabirhie and Cameron John will be fit to play a role in next weekend’s clash with Lincoln City.
It had been expected all three would make their returns to the matchday squad when Rovers resume league action with Wellens assured by the Rovers medical staff on their recoveries.
All three had scans on their respective injuries last week, and while Wellens did not provide much detail, he did confirm they are unlikely to face the Imps.
John has been out since late August with a back injury. He visited a specialist last week for a second opinion on the issue.
Taylor returned to action off the bench against Wycombe Wanderers last month but suffered a fresh setback in the ankle injury he suffered in March.
Okenabirhie has not featured this season and it is understood his injury is providing the most concern.
There has been more positive news on the injury front for Rovers, having starting the week with 14 players absent from training.
Joseph Olowu (back), John Bostock (groin) and Ben Close (hamstring) are all expected back for the Lincoln game.
“Joe could probably have made Tuesday’s game but he’ll definitely start against Lincoln so we need to protect him,” Wellens said.
“John Bostock has a groin problem but he’ll train on Monday.
“We’ll have to wait and see.
“We believe Bostock, Olowu and Close will definitely be fit for the Lincoln game.”
Jordy Hiwula missed Tuesday’s win over Scunthorpe United in the Papa John’s Trophy due to a foot issue.
Both he and Aidan Barlow - who was injured in last weekend’s FA Cup win over Scunthorpe - will be assessed in the coming days.
“We need time. With swelling you need time to manage it, keep the leg elevated, ice it consistently,” Wellens said.
“Both are impact injuries and it’ll take time for the swelling to go down.”
Rovers do not have a game this weekend with their scheduled clash with Fleetwood Town postponed due to the international call-ups of Ethan Galbraith (Northern Ireland), Pontus Dahlberg (Sweden) and Tiago Cukur (Turkey U21).
Wellens has pencilled in a friendly for next week to keep his available players ticking over.
“We’ll arrange a game next Wedneday and the majority of the lads, including the young lads who were involved, will get 45 minutes each and we’ll work a bit on what we want to do at Lincoln,” he said.
"They’ll have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off this week.
“Rowe, Anderson, Knoyle, Branden Horton now, Dodoo, Rodrigo, Smith - they’re probably in the six or seven that are going to be 100 per cent fit for Lincoln so we need to look after them. They’ve been playing 90 minutes a lot so they need rest and recovery more than anything.
“It’s important that if we give them three days off then we get good training in Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We’re going to have to have three or four different scenarios because we won’t know who we’ll have fit and available.”