Doncaster Rovers: Alex hopes chances won’t Peter out

Alex Peterson
Alex Peterson

Getting the call as a youth player to come on and play for the first team is the stuff of dreams - and Alex Peterson loved every minute.

Despite defeat to Charlton on Tuesday night, one of the positives to come out of the game was the introduction of young striker Peterson.

Just over a month since celebrating his 19th birthday, the tall forward was given the nod from Paul Dickov to enter the fray at The Valley in place of Spanish midfielder Marc De Val for his taste of first team football.

His introduction may have been a brief spell in the final stages of the game but the reserve team forward relished his chance of two tier football in the 2-0 loss.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Peterson.

“It was a good feeling to be playing in front of a big crowd in the Championship.

“When I was told I was coming on, it was about getting my head on the game, understanding where I have to be on the set-pieces and things like that.

“You have to be prepared that every time you are on the bench, you are ready to come on and help the team.”

He went on: “Playing reserve team football, it is a good pace but it is not the pace that was shown at Charlton.

“I felt I adjusted to the pace okay.

“It is a lot quicker, a lot more physical and a lot louder.

“But I think reserve team football prepares you for all that.”

With Chris Brown out with an ankle problem and Theo Robinson coming back from a hamstring issue, it was the turn of Billy Paynter to lead the line for Rovers alongside loan star Federico Macheda for the trip to Charlton as Doncaster’s length injury list continued to grow.

Those injuries have paved the way for the likes of youngsters Luke McCullough, Peterson and fellow youth player Liam Wakefield - who was on the bench on Tuesday - and has shown Dickov is not afraid to show faith in youth. “Some of the injuries are crazy,” said Peterson.

“They are not your average injuries, they are neck, shoulder and other types of injuries.

“What has happend to me shows that the gaffer has faith in us and that we can be called upon.

“It gives us a chance to show what we can do.

“In terms of players getting injured, it is bad for the team but it can also give you a chance to come in.”

He added: “Me and Wakey [Wakefield] are good mates, we have been mates for about three or four years and he had a feeling I would come on so he gave me a bit of advice and wished me good luck.”

Rovers were 2-0 down following a sublime strike from Dale Stephens and a Simon Church goal on the hour mark before Peterson came off the bench.

However, the academy starlet learned a lot from watching and being involved in the match to help in his development.

“We know we didn’t perform,” he said. “We know we can do a lot better than that.

“We didn’t take enough shots but it is something we will work on and take into the next game.”

Dickov was also far from impressed with his team’s display but could draw a positive from the introduction of Peterson in the 76th minute.

“One thing Alex does is work hard,” said the former Oldham Athletic manager.

“I’m the sort of manager whowill not shy away from giving youth a chance and we’ve been working with him constantly.

“His attitude is fantastic.

“He’s shown from his work in games and training that he is improving all the time.”

A product of Rovers youth set-up, Peterson has been with the club since the tender age of 11.

He has progressed well through the ranks, coming through the Centre of Excellence before he signed his first professional contract in the summer of this year.

He has been heavily involved in Rovers’ Central League matches this season, and netted in the 3-1 win over Hartlepool.

Being keen to learn like most youth players - and having played with such as Paynter and De Val in the reserves set-up - Peterson is looking up to several first team players in a bid to further his development.

“Browny [Chris Brown[ is great,” he said “He is helping me out with certain things and helping me to improve.

“Him and Paynts [Billy Paynter] are both helping me because they are in my position.

“But around the pitch I know I could go to any of the first team players and they will help me out.

“They are always there looking out for you whether it is in training or on the pitch during a game.”