Darren Ferguson felt Conor Grant’s departure last season had a big effect on Doncaster Rovers and expects his return to do just the same.
Midfielder Grant is back on loan from Everton at the Keepmoat where he made a major impression during a four month spell last term.
An Achilles injury cut short his stay ensuring he missed the final two months of Rovers’ slide into League Two.
Ferguson believes losing the 21-year-old cost Rovers dearly in their doomed battle against the drop.
But he is confident the surprise re-signing of Grant will help his side back into League One.
“I felt it was a big impact last season when he left,” Ferguson said. “It definitely made a difference.
“For me, he’s a Championship player and we’re really fortunate to get him.
“I’m delighted he’s back.
“It’s a fantastic signing for the club.
“The board have backed me and we really went after Conor aggressively. He’s the target we wanted.
“He’ll give us balance and goals. He’s a very good player.
“There were many clubs in for him and quite a lot in the league above.
“The advantage we had is that we got him last season. He loved his football here but unfortunately got his injury.”
Grant endured an unsuccessful loan spell with Championship side Ipswich Town earlier this season which was terminated due to a lack of game time.