Doncaster Rovers: Ben Whiteman suspension presents ‘big opportunity’

Ben Whiteman
Ben Whiteman

Grant McCann says one of his Doncaster Rovers players will be handed a huge opportunity to impress if selected to deputise for Ben Whiteman this weekend.

Whiteman will miss the trip to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday after picking up his fifth league booking of the season in the win over Bradford City.

McCann will be forced into a midfield reshuffle due to the suspension but has urged whoever is selected to follow the example of Matty Blair, who has thrived since covering the injury of skipper Tommy Rowe.

“It’s a big opportunity for someone,” McCann said.

“Matty Blair came in and if Tommy Rowe had been missing for one game, he’d have struggled to get back in.

“Ben has been outstanding for us but it’s an opportunity for someone to come in and cement their place in the team.

“It’s a loss to us but we’ll have to deal with it.

“We’ve got loads of lads waiting for a chance – Jermaine Anderson, Alfie Beestin, Cody Prior.

“We’ve got a decision to make there.”

Arguably Whiteman’s role is not as simple to cover as Rowe’s.

The 22-year-old has excelled this season in a deeper-lying midfield roll, acting as both a blocker and an attacking threat.

On loan Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane may seem like the most logical replacement but he has impressed in a more advanced position since his arrival at Rovers.

McCann said: “I think the way Ben plays, he never sits in one place.

“Maybe that wasn’t the case as much on Saturdat but he does move out of the centre, takes up attacking positions and people take up positions off each other.

“We’re quite fluent in there and flexible so we’ll make a decision who we play.

“I think we’ve shown already that when someone gets injured then we’ve got someone else who can come in and do just as good a job.

“Like Matty has done with Tommy being injured.

“Someone is going to have to come in and do the same for Ben.”

Ali Crawford is set to take a considerable step forward in his recovery from a knee injury by featuring in a behind-closed-doors game with Scunthorpe United on Tuesday.