Doncaster Rovers: Everyone on their toes in battle for defensive supremacy

Andy Butler believes strong competition for a centre half berth has everyone on their toes when called upon to feature for Doncaster Rovers.

An illness to Paul Downing restricted to him to an appearance off the bench in Saturday’s win at Bradford City.

Though Tom Anderson did not feature for the previous seven matches, he slotted back in seamlessly and turned in an excellent performance alongside Butler, playing a significant role in the win.

Butler says there would not be a concern over Rovers lining up with any potential centre back pairing.

Andy Butler

And he believes those who find themselves on the bench share a determination to impress when called upon.

“Whoever comes in, it doesn’t disrupt anything,” Butler said.

“We know each other’s games and ins and outs.

“We’ve all had time on the bench and it gees you a bit, realising you’ve got to be better than them when you come back into the team.

“Unfortunately for Paul he was ill and Tom stepped in and I thought he was unbelievable in how he dealt with Eoin Doyle, his clearances and his passing.”

There had been concerns early in the season that Rovers lacked depth at centre half with Butler, Anderson and Joe Wright the only senior options.

But the addition of loanee Downing in January plus the growth of youngsters Shane Blaney and Rian McLean has Butler convinced Rovers have plenty of strength in their defensive ranks.

“It’s credit to the squad,” he said when asked about coping with absences such as Downing’s.

“It shows the depth we’ve got in every position, including centre half.

“We’ve got Joe Wright who unluckily for him has been injured. There’s Tom, Paul and myself, all fighting for it.

“And we’ve got two young lads Shane and Rian who are pushing for it as well.

“If we can pass our experience onto them it’ll help make them better players and at the same time their youthful energy can push is on to keep going.”