stick together

ON loan star Matt Kilgallon will return to the side - and new signing Paul Keegan could get an early chance to prove his worth - following Tuesday’s night’s crushing 5-0 FA Cup defeat at Wolves.

It was Doncaster’s biggest loss for over six years since Sean O’Driscoll was manager of the Bournemouth side that beat them 5-0 at Dean Court in September, 2004.

But O’Driscoll was more concerned about the manner of Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat by Reading when he reflected on the two matches yesterday.

He said: “Obviously we gave poor goals away in both games.

“But, whereas we lost our shape and got discouraged against Reading, we stuck to the task against Wolves.

“We were up against a Premier League team that was not going to take its foot off the gas and let us off the hook.

“We had an early opportunity to score and people might look at that and think things might have been different.

“But we were the better side for the first 25 minutes against Reading and didn’t react as we usually do when they went ahead.

“So that, for me, was most disappointing.”

The Doncaster boss added: “Football is full of frustrations and there are no easy answers when you get a couple of defeats like that.

“But clearly we need to stick together and show the belief we have displayed for most of the season.”

O’Driscoll hinted that he may freshen up his side and will look at all the defensive options aimed at making the back unit more effective at Ipswich on Saturday with Kilgallon set to return after being ineligible for the cup-tie.

He also would not rule out the possibility of Keegan starting, or being involved at some stage.

Keegan has signed a short term contract until the end of the season after impressing on trial last month.

The 26-year-old midfielder, rated the best player in the League of Ireland, has captained the Republic at youth and Under 21 level and won two championships with Bohemians who were forced to release him because of financial problems.

He also captained the League of Ireland XI against Manchester United last August in a special match to mark the opening of Dublin’s £400 million Aviva stadium.

O’Driscoll said: “Paul has experience of European competitions and won’t be fazed by playing in the Championship.

“He’s an intelligent midfield player who tackles well and I wouldn’t have any hesitation at all about putting him in if I think the time is right.”

Rovers suffered an injury blow before the kick off at Molineux when Martin Woods incurred a problem with his groin and had to be replaced by Dean Shiels.

He had been fine in training and was being assessed yesterday to determine the cause of the trouble.

Rovers are already without Brian Stock, Simon Gillett, Shelton Martis, Mustapha Dumbuya, Wayne Thomas and Joseph Mills - and none of them are expected to be back before the end of the month.

Mills has a minor shin bone fracture that could take two to three weeks to heal. His loan spell is up but Rovers are keen to extend it to the end of the season.

O’Driscoll would also like to bring back talented Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason who is fit again and scored in a friendly against QPR this week.

But he is still waiting to hear whether David Healy is willing to rejoin the club on loan - and may not be able to afford both.

n Rovers face Barnsley in a rearranged match at the Keepmoat next Tuesday night (7.45pm).