Doncaster Rovers’ manager Darren Ferguson may have already done his best piece of transfer business before the January window officially opens tomorrow.
For managing to extend the loan of utility player Niall Mason from Aston Villa until the end of the summer is a coup for the League Two leaders.
The 19-year-old has settled in well to the left-back role at the Keepmoat Stadium and such is his form that Ferguson has allowed Tyler Garratt to join Eastleigh on loan and Cedric Evina is expected to leave next month.
While Ferguson will be active in January, as Rovers look to strengthen and keep their grip on top spot, he was thrilled to secure Mason’s future.
“It’s very good for us,” he said.
“He’s shown his flexibility. He’s played right wing-back, right-back, left centre-half, left-back, midfield. We knew he had that flexibility.
“I thought he was excellent when he went to centre midfield at Notts County. It’s a position he likes to play.
“He’s done very well at left-back, though he is right-footed.
“With Tyler Garratt going out on loan and Cedric Evina looking for another club, I still feel we’ve got options in that position.
“He’s been an important player for us.
“He’s done very, very well. I like him. He’s only young and he’s got a lot of improvement in him, but he’s got the right attitude.”
Mason has made 18 appearances for Rovers, most recently impressing at left-back.
Doncaster are top of League Two on goal difference from Plymouth Argyle, both having 45 points from 22 games.
Argyle are the only team to beat Rovers in the last seven league outings, the other six all resulting in Doncaster victories.
Today, Ferguson takes his side down the M1 – followed by a sell-out away support – to face Mansfield Town (12.15pm kick-off), managed by former Rotherham United and Leeds United boss Steve Evans.
The Stags have taken just one point from nine, have failed to score in their last three games and sit 17th in the table.