Darren Moore backs Louis Jones as Josef Bursik's recall adds to Doncaster Rovers' injury problems
Bursik, who made his England Under-21 debut against Albania on Tuesday, has returned to the Potteries following injuries to Angus Gunn and former Barnsley captain Adam Davies.
It is a blow for Rovers, who have a number of players close to returning from injury, but not yet ready to face Sunderland on Saturday but manager Moore says he has complete faith in Jones.
The 22-year-old has played the last two Doncaster matches, with Bursik on the bench in the FA Cup first round, and on England duty when Rovers completed their Football League Trophy campaign for the season.
“We've always admired Louis Jones here, we see him with a big future ahead of him if he continues doing what he's doing,” said Moore, ahead of the announcement of Bursik's return. “For one so young he's always thirsting to get better and he is getting better, without a doubt.”
Rovers, who only got their coaching staff back after a fortnight of self-isolation on Thursday morning, have a clutch of players back in training but not yet ready to play. Madger Gomes, Tyreece John-Jules and probably Jon Taylor fall into that category whilst Rayhaan Tulloch, on loan from West Bromwich Albion is a further step back. Taylor Richards is available, though.
Moore sees it as unfortunate it has taken a spate of muscle injuries brought on by the packed schedule before the Football League agreed to increase the number of substitutes available in league matches from three to five and whilst he thinks it might benefit some of Doncaster's rivals more, he supports it because of his concerns for player welfare.
“With the matches we've had to play in a short space of time we all knew we were always going to be chasing our tail in terms of the games,” he commented. “We're dealing with and trying to manage it as best as we possibly can.
“Probably having the five substitutions allows us to look at burnout and soft-tissue injuries – not just for us, I think all the clubs have felt it.
“I'm mixed on it but I see that as the deciding factor.
“It shouldn't have taken a multitude of injuries from clubs right across the board. We ask players to play at such a pace and intensity week after week that fatigue creeps into it and when players get fatigued they're susceptible to soft-tissue issues.
“Maybe they should have done it at the start of the season. You're far better doing it at the start and easing off as opposed to adding.
“The (clubs) that can make wholesale changes will see the benefit and the ones that can't won't but the biggest thing for me is just the well-being of the players.”
Midfielder Gomes is thought to be a week away from playing and like winger Taylor and striker John-Jules, the concern is to build up their physical resilience for the resumption of a punishing schedule of twice-weekly matches.
Of Taylor, Moore said: “He's the one that's a bit of a concern for us at the moment, not because of anything outstanding, it's just the volume of games.
“Tayls is a player who's about energy and that's him. Even if he's in the canteen getting a cup of tea he sprints for it, that's just him.
“I'll be governed by the medical team and when I speak to Jon himself in terms of the game at the weekend.
“It's great to have Tyreece (on loan from Arsenal, where he started his rehabilitation) back. He's just doing volume training now
“He can report on a daily basis how he's feeling now he's here. The mere fact he's back in the building, on the training ground, it's hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Tulloch's progress, hampered by a minor setback, has been frustrating, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for him.
“Now I'm back we'll be making contact with West Brom to see where he's at,” confirmed Moore. “We believe he's back outside again and that's great to hear but I'd rather speak to them and get a more detailed prognosis and more of a timescale.
“But from what I'm hearing he's making good progress and a bit like Tyreece it's just about getting the volume into them.
“He had a minor setback. He had to rest it for a number of days before starting the programme again but he's working back through the programme again now to get up to speed.”
Championship sides will be allowed to name nine substitutes of whom five can play this weekend but League One Doncaster and League Two clubs will be permitted five from seven.
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