Jordan Houghton has revealed his rehabilitation from a cruciate knee ligament injury has included working with a psychologist.
The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has returned to action well ahead of schedule after suffering the injury in February during his first spell at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Houghton is in contention to start for Rovers at Northampton Town tomorrow after playing 90 minutes for Doncaster’s development side on Tuesday.
And the 21-year-old says as well as feeling physically strong he is also in a good ‘mind space’.
“When you’re getting back into it you’ve got to be mentally strong,” he said.
“Physically, you’re always going to be ready because the physios tick those boxes for you.
“But being mentally right is a major thing too.”
He added: “It’s part and parcel of the game, you expect injuries, and it’s just how you come back from it and ride those challenges.
“Football is a challenging game on the pitch but I think the key to it, and having a successful career, is your mentality and how you override weaknesses and things like that.
“I’ve done some work with a psychologist and that’s put me in a good mind frame. Hopefully I can build on my fitness and get back to the levels of last season.”
Houghton made his Rovers return as a second half substitute in last weekend’s goalless draw with Peterborough United. After watching Doncaster from the stands at the end of last season, his comeback was in little doubt.
“My loan was until the last game of the season so I didn’t feel like I’ve gone back injured and that’s it,” he said. “I still felt part of it and that was down to the manager and the players.
“Keeping in touch helped me to be honest, number one in making my decision to come back and number two to get through those early stages [of the rehab].
“I had a group of lads and staff who are keen for me to get back, not necessarily with Doncaster, but just to get back playing. That was always a good thing from my point of view.”
Houghton was encouraged by Rovers’ display against the Posh.
“I think like the manager said in the dressing room afterwards we’ve got to have a little more belief in ourselves,” he said.
“Peterborough have had a good start and we went toe-to-toe with them. A little bit more confidence in our ability and I think we would’ve got the win.
“Coming up into another league is difficult and some people might think we’d struggle to stay in the league. But with the players we’ve got we can really be pushing.”