'No pressure' on returning Doncaster Rovers players to spark upturn insists boss
Richie Wellens insists there is no pressure on those players returning from injury to instantly reignite Doncaster Rovers’ fortunes.
Wellens has spoken of the importance of getting back Jon Taylor, Fejiri Okenabirhie, Ben Close and Cameron John after the international break as he hunts for more consistent results that will help Rovers climb away from the relegation zone.
But the Rovers boss says the burden of sparking the recovery will not fall entirely on the long-term absentees - he just wants them to play their normal game.
“I wouldn’t say pressure,” Wellens told the Free Press.
“Jon Taylor has been promoted from this league so he knows what it takes.
“There is no pressure.
“They’ve been through it before and know what it takes. If you’re asking a player who hasn’t done it before, it takes them time to adapt.
“But if you’re asking Jon Taylor to get us up the pitch, to give us high energy, to run in behind, to get close to the full back, to get crosses in - he’s done all that for the last seven or so years of his career.
“That’s the difference. You’re just asking people to do things they’ve already done.”
Wellens says just having those players back involved in a matchday squad will boost Rovers as a lack of game-changing options from the bench in recent weeks has hampered their progress.
“When they’re first back, it’d just be nice to have them on the bench,” he said.
“A lot of games in this league are won in the last 15 or 20 minutes.
“We’ve already had examples this year - Crewe, Cambridge, Wimbledon - where if we’d got that forward play, speed and goal threat to come off the bench, it would make all the difference.”
Cameron John was this week due to visit a specialist for a second opinion on his back problem which has kept him out since late August.
The Rovers medical staff have assured Wellens the defender will be fit to play some part in the clash with Lincoln City on November 20, along with Okenabirhie, Taylor and Close.
Okenabirhie has yet to feature this season due to injury while Taylor made one substitute appearance last month before suffering a setback with his long term ankle problem.