Doncaster Rovers: Kieran Sadlier raring to go after well earned rest
It is no coincidence that Kieran Sadlier has looked like he has had the bit between his teeth in pre-season for Doncaster Rovers.
The forward has turned in a string of high intensity, aggressive and attacking performances throughout the programme of friendlies to firmly mark himself as one of the players to be most excited about heading into the new campaign.
His introduction to life at Rovers had been promising enough, following his move from Cork City last November. But it came on the back of a break of no more than a fortnight following the end of the League of Ireland season which runs through the summer.
The end of last season – though he would certainly have preferred it to go on for an extra week – came as sweet relief for a player desperately in need of the chance to put his feet up.
“I needed that rest after 18 months with no break,” Sadlier told the Free Press. “I had a good time off.
“When you train every single day, you get up every single day and come in and you play at the weekend, you give it your all – especially in my position as an attacker where I'm up and down.
“It creeps up on when you've played for a long time without a break.
“I think you can only appreciate that when you’ve done it yourself and you’re involved in football.
"You just become sluggish and tired and heavy.
“I think having a break just revitalises you. You’re back and working hard.
“It makes you want it even more mentally.
“It’s a massive thing, not just physically but mentally to have that break.
“Pre-season has been tough. I feel really fit. I played 75, 90 and 90 minutes within a week so I feel fitter than ever.
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“I’m really looking forward to getting going.”
Spending three weeks of his break in America seems to have done Sadlier the world of good judging by his pre-season performances.
One of the most intriguing came in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Hull City when – in John Marquis’ absence – he played as the most advanced player.
With Marquis widely expected to leave the club before the end of the transfer window, Sadlier may be offered the opportunity – initially at least – to try his hand in the role in competitive action.
“It’s not a position that I've played since I was 19 or 20, back in Academy and U23 football,” he said.
“But I really enjoyed it.
“It's something I can adapt to. In training I'll play in that position in small-sided games.
“It’s something I’m confident I can do, and change my game. I really enjoyed it.
“We’ve got players like James Coppinger, Alfie May, Ben Whiteman and those behind that can all interchange. I don;t have to play as an out and out striker, I can drift around and out wide to set things off and go again.
“It’s somewhere I feel I can fill in and do that job.
“I’ll play where I’m told to play and I’m happy to be in the team.”