Doncaster Rovers: Ben Whiteman is fit, firing and not ready for season to end just yet

Ben Whiteman is in no mood to see Doncaster Rovers’ season come to an end this weekend.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 9:00 am
Ben Whiteman receives the Rovers Player of the Year prize at The Star Football Awards

Though a play-off campaign has yet to be fully finalised with Rovers needing to deliver a result against Coventry City on Saturday, Whiteman is keen to build his own personal momentum as he continues to get up to speed following his ankle injury.

“I’m coming in to getting a bit more match fitness now,” he told the Free Press.

“Hopefully we can take it into the play-offs if results go our way.”

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Whiteman – named the Rovers Player of the Year at our sister paper The Star’s annual Football Awards this week – damaged ankle ligaments in the draw with Barnsley in March and endured a longer than expected recovery.

He admits he was not 100 per cent when he returned to the side in the defeat at Sunderland but is ready to hit his stride.

“I didn’t know how bad I’d done it when it happened,” he said. “I carried on.

“But I had the scan and it showed significant ligament damage.

“I’m just glad to be back.

“The team did well without me. Obviously the system change helped.

“It was frustrating but the team have come through it. Hopefully I can stake my claim for it.

“The Sunderland game was a push for me and I probably needed a few games.”

Whiteman got two games in a day last week – playing 45 minutes for the U23s against Rotherham United before coming off the bench at half time against Accrington Stanley that evening.

He said: “It probably helped me.

“I had the boot on for three or four weeks and you get a bit rusty. It’s about getting used to it.

“I spoke to the gaffer on Monday and he wanted me to play 60 minutes for the reserves.

“He then told me I’d get 45 and then be on the bench for the night game. I don’t think he planned for me getting 45 minutes at the night.

“I thought we did well in that second half.”

Though a place in the play-offs could have been guaranteed on Tuesday night without Rovers playing, Whiteman insists the focus since Saturday’s draw at Oxford United has always been about beating Coventy City this weekend and securing the spot themselves.

A win for Peterborough United at Portsmouth on Tuesday ensured the fight would go down to the final day.

But Whiteman insists Rovers will be ready for it.

“It’s just about us,” Whiteman said.

“That’s been the main foocus throughout the season that the manager has given us.

“Going into games we take into account what the other team might bring but we always want to implement our style.

“We’re just looking forward to the game. Whatever the situation would have been, we’d want to sign off with a win.“We want to try to get some momentum and hopefully take that into the play-offs.”