Rovers’ promotion aspirations remain slightly concave after they received another proverbial dent with the news that James O’Connor requires hernia surgery. The truth is that Rovers have known O’Connor was in need of surgery for a number of weeks, however it was felt that it could be put off until the end of the season. Speaking to the club’s official website manager Sean O’Driscoll explained; “The surgeon was quite confident that if we managed it properly that it would last until the end of the season. But to be fair it is down to the player and if the player is not happy then there is no point prolonging the decision to have surgery.”
Up until Saturday the full-back was Rovers only outfield player to have completed every ninety minutes of the season so far however it is believed he has been ‘playing through the pain barrier’ for the more recent of those matches. O’Connor is the second Rovers’ player to undergo hernia surgery since Christmas, following James Hayter onto the operating table.
It will be intriguing for many to see just how Sean O’Driscoll fills the vacant full-back slot for Saturday. He effectively has three clear options, the first of which is to bring in Sean McDaid. Second option would be to switch Paul Green to right back where the midfielder has previously impressed and bring viva rovers’ own Mark Wilson into the midfield. Option three would see one of the three central defenders; Matt Mills, Stephen Roberts or Adam Lockwood moved across to full-back.
However, the manager may take the opportunity to revert to a back three of Lockwood, Mills and Stephen Roberts. A tactical move he favoured for away matches at the start of his tenure, whilst a fifth and most unlikely option would be to bring back youngster Matty Noble from his loan spell with Guiseley. The youth team graduate had impressed in pre-season but is unlikely to be brought into first team action so swiftly.