Doncaster Rovers: Gary McSheffrey retains faith in Bobby Faulkner despite 'tough day at the office'

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Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey retains faith in Bobby Faulkner despite 'a tough day at the office' last time out.

The 18-year-old youth-team graduate has been entrusted with a key role at the heart of Rovers' defence in recent weeks but was given a footballing lesson against Mansfield Town last weekend.

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His place in the starting XI was uncertain ahead of Saturday's trip to Hartlepool United, which has been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

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Bobby FaulknerBobby Faulkner
Bobby Faulkner

McSheffrey said: “He’s a young man getting a shot at first-team football from nowhere.

"It’s important we realise that.”

Faulkner has stepped up to the plate in the absence of Tom Anderson, who faces another injury lay-off.

The former skipper, 29, has played just four times in 2022 due to injuries and will be out for a further eight weeks after receiving an epidural for a back issue.

Doncaster's Bobby Faulkner in action against Mansfield Town.Doncaster's Bobby Faulkner in action against Mansfield Town.
Doncaster's Bobby Faulkner in action against Mansfield Town.

Local lad Faulkner, from Norton, was given the nod ahead of summer signing Adam Long, who is three years his senior.

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He was named man of the match on his full professional debut after helping to keep the EFL's top-scorer Sam Hoskins at bay.

But former Club Doncaster Sports College student Faulkner struggled as Doncaster fell to their first league defeat last weekend.

McSheffrey added: "The week before he was the next John Terry but then he comes up against (Lucas) Akins and a strong Mansfield team and has a tough day at the office.

"It’s important we get round him and we don’t just judge him off the one game.”

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Doncaster are set to take on Barrow on Tuesday night as things stand.

The Bluebirds have been the division’s surprise package so far and currently occupy the final automatic promotion spot, having won five of their first seven games under their new boss Pete Wild.

"Barrow have had a terrific start to the season and they are no pushover for anybody," said McSheffrey.

Asked if his players’ confidence had been dented following their defeat to Mansfield, McSheffrey said: “Probably for a couple of days.

"We’ve had a good week’s training. The spirit is good, the tempo has been good.

"It’s a case of ‘we owe each other one, we owe the fans one’. I think there will be a response.”