Injury update on Doncaster Rovers' long term absentees including Tom Anderson, Ben Close and Fejiri Okenabirhie

Gary McSheffrey has delivered an encouraging update on Doncaster Rovers’ longer term injury victims as attention begins to turn towards next season.

By Paul Goodwin
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:49 am

Rovers, whose relegation to League Two will be confirmed this weekend, have suffered an injury blighted campaign which has seen them robbed of the services of several key players.

Captain Tom Anderson, Cameron John, John Bostock, Ben Close, Jon Taylor and Fejiri Okenabirhie have all missed huge chunks of a forgettable season.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s curtain-closer at Oxford United, McSheffrey delivered a positive update looking ahead to the 2022/23 campaign.

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Ben Close joined Doncaster Rovers from Portsmouth last summer.

“Hopefully a lot of them will time it so they’re available for the first day of pre-season,” said Rovers’ boss.

“Ben Close is only a few weeks away.

Kieran Agard, if that all goes to plan, should be available for the first week of pre-season.

“Tom Anderson should be available for the first week of pre-season.

“And there’s a couple more as well.

“Fejiri Okenabirhie will probably be a little bit during pre-season with his return to training estimation.

“So we could be coming into the first day of pre-season with a pretty much full squad.”

Anderson, who looks set to extend his contract at Rovers, has not featured since mid-December due to a troublesome foot injury.

John, whose contract expires this summer, made a welcome return as a late substitute against Burton Albion last weekend after almost eight months out with a back problem.

Bostock, another player approaching the end of his current contract, has impressed on his recent return to the first team fold after four months out with an ankle injury.

Close has not featured since late November and underwent knee surgery earlier this year, while Taylor has made just three appearances this season due to an ankle injury.

Okenabirhie, who has not played this season and whose contract expires this summer, has just undergone another operation on his problematic Achilles injury but McSheffrey’s latest update is more encouraging than than the four-month rehabilitation initially forecast for the 26-year-old striker.

January recruit Agard tore his hamstring in mid-March.

The 2022/23 EFL season will get underway on Saturday, July 30.

Meanwhile, right back Kyle Knoyle (groin) is an injury doubt for this weekend’s trip to Oxford.

“It’s just a niggling groin injury that may need resting,” said McSheffrey.

"He’s not trained this week. We’ll give him as much time as he needs but we don’t really want to make it worse so we’ll respect what Knoyley wants to do with that one.

"He’s been an ever-present and he always puts a shift in every game. He’s worked hard, he’s one that has earned his rest this summer.”