CARL IKEME returns in goal for Doncaster Rovers today after three months on the sidelines with a thumb injury.
Ikeme played five games on loan for Rovers earlier this season but is back from Wolves until the end of the season as a replacement for David Button, who was on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
Manager Dean Saunders said: “It’s great to have him with us again. When you have a good goalkeeper like Carl, they can be worth 15 points a season.”
Ikeme goes straight into the side for today’s home game with play-off chasing Brighton & Hove Albion and insists that he had no qualms about returning to the battle for survival.
“I am always up for a scrap and I want to help Doncaster stay up,” he said.
“I felt in really good form before the injury and unfortunately it just breaks your stride – but I feel good again now and can’t wait to be involved.”
Ikeme signed a new deal with Wolves this season and makes no secret of his determination to become first choice at the Premier League club in the future.
“I feel I am good enough to be playing there,” he said. “Wayne (Hennessy) deserves the shirt right now but, hopefully, my time will come. Wolves is my club and that’s where I want to play next season.”
Saunders, meanwhile, is aware that March is going to be an important month for Rovers with nine games on the fixture list, including five at home.
“I am really excited because the league table can turn around in a week,” said Saunders. “I have said all along that we are going to win three on the trot. It’s just a matter of time. But we have to start doing it quickly.”
Chairman John Ryan, meanwhile, has spoken of the ‘hurt’ he feels over criticism of the club’s strategies this season.
In a renewal letter to season-ticket holders, Ryan wrote: “The past 12 months have been the most difficult I have experienced during my stewardship of the club. It is without question that this has been a very challenging season both on and off the pitch.
“It hurts that so many people doubt this club and doubt me, particularly when those doubts come from our own fan base.
“However, despite a difficult 12 months I remain the eternal optimist and I am positive that our club can continue to punch above our weight in the Championship and will continue to battle against everything that is thrown our way.”
Ryan, who has reduced season ticket prices in an attempt to boost gates, added: “If you want this club to achieve everything you want from your football team then you need to stand up for it.
“I’ve made my promises and kept them all. When I began my role as chairman, I promised the fans a cup win, I promised the fans a new stadium, and I promised the fans Championship football. I was laughed at when I promised this and yet with hard work and determination, together we achieved those promises. I’m always willing to fight for this club but I cannot do it alone. Your support is now more vital than ever before.”