Doncaster Rovers: The solution at centre back? Andy Butler hails ‘mature’ Niall Mason

Niall Mason
Niall Mason

Andy Butler has hailed fellow defender Niall Mason’s ‘maturity’ and hopes Doncaster Rovers can hold onto him in the summer.

Mason could switch from right back to centre back as a stand-in for the suspended Tom Anderson in tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby at Barnsley.

The versatile 21-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has become a model of consistency since making his EFL debut with Doncaster two years ago and has reportedly attracted the attention of several Championship clubs.

Speaking in the build-up to this weekend’s derby, Butler gave the former Southampton and Aston Villa youngster a ringing endorsement.

“I think Niall’s been excellent this season,” said Butler.

“He’s learned so much from the time he’s been here and the maturity he shows for a young lad is outstanding.

“He knows what he’s good at. He’s a great ‘one v one’ defender and a good lad on the ball as well.

“He’s got all the attributes to be a very, very good player in the future. Hopefully that’s with us.”

He added: “If he comes alongside me then I’ve been with Niall in a back three before.

“If Shaun [Cummings] comes in then we’ve done some work in training.

“Whoever steps in, that’s what the squad is there for.”

Moving Mason to centre back would see Matty Blair fill in at right back.

Cummings’ last start came back in March for Rotherham United.

Meanwhile, Butler has conceded that Rovers must start taking more points off League One’s leading sides to achieve their top six aim.

Of the current top six, Rovers have only managed a victory against Luton Town.

Doncaster currently trail third-placed Barnsley by six points.

“As a team we believe we can beat anyone in this league,” said Butler.

“We’ve shown we can more than match anybody – Portsmouth, Peterborough, Sunderland.

“We played well in all of those games. 

“We’ve not got the results we wanted but I’m sure we can more than match them.”