Doncaster Rovers leave door open for long-term injury absentee Fejiri Okenabirhie

Fejiri Okenabirhie could still have a future with Doncaster Rovers, Gary McSheffrey has revealed.

Friday, 1st July 2022, 6:00 am

The striker has not played since May 2021 and missed all of last season due to an Achilles tendon problem, which required surgery earlier this year.

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He was released following Doncaster’s relegation to League Two, but the club continues to support him with his recovery.

Doncaster's Fejiri Okenabirhie receives attention from the physio in his last game for Rovers against Blackpool in May 2021.

“The door’s not fully closed,” said Rovers boss McSheffrey.

“I had a chat with Fejiri and explained the reasoning behind the decision. It was similar to the Cameron (John) one.”

McSheffrey opted to release defender John owing to the long spell he too had spent on the sidelines and said: "If I brought a new player in and they’d not kicked a ball since last September you [the media] would probably be hammering me and the fans would probably be hammering me.”

Rovers hope Okenabirhie will be fit enough to take part in some pre-season friendlies before the 2022/23 campaign gets under way against Bradford City on 30 July.

The former England C international was Doncaster’s top-scorer in the 2020/21 season with 11 goals in 39 League One appearances.

McSheffrey added: "It was a case of honouring his fitness, but ultimately can he come back and get to where he was? Can he get to the player that he was before this long-term injury?

"If he can, then it’s something that we have to look at. That hinders some of your decision making; whether to pounce on something or whether to keep something available in case a Fejiri comes good and looks back to his best.

"He’s definitely someone we’ll be having a serious look at.”

Doncaster have signed striker George Miller and attacking midfielder Luke Molyneux ahead of the new season.

Miller fired 12 goals in League Two for Walsall last term, while Molyneux hit eight for Hartlepool.

McSheffrey has spoken of his desire to add more firepower to his forward line after Rovers averaged fewer than one goal a game in the 2021/22 League One campaign.

The departures of Joe Dodoo and Jordy Hiwula has potentially freed up more room to manoeuvre in the club's transfer budget.

Twenty-one players are currently contracted to Doncaster for next season.