IAIN Hume made his eagerly-awaited full debut for Doncaster Rovers in Wednesday’s Capital Cup One third round defeat against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
The former Barnsley striker joined Rovers on a four-month loan deal from rival Championship side Preston North End, where he had dropped down the pecking order, on the last day of the summer transfer window at the end of August and made his debut when coming off the bench in the 2-1 defeat at Yeovil the following day.
Although having a hand in Rovers stoppage-time consolation goal scored by Billy Paynter, he was nowhere near fit not having featured in any of North End’s warm-up games.
He worked hard on his fitness during the week when Rovers were without a game as a result of their home match against Oldham being called off due to the Latics having three players on international duty that weekend.
He came on late in the 2-1 win at Colchester when Rovers returned to action after their enforced break, but he was an unused substitute in the scrappy 1-1 derby draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
He came on midway through the second half of last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to second-placed Stevenage and helped Rovers come from behind to snatch a late point.
“I certainly felt a lot better after Saturday’s game against Stevenage than I did after the Yeovil game but, I’ve still got a lot of work to do and I know that as does the gaffer,” he said this week.
“It was good to get on and play with Brownie (Chris Brown) again. I’ve played alongside him before and we know that we can make an impact.
“It was a disappointing result in a way because we should probably be looking to pick up three points at home, but Stevenage were tough to beat and they’ve proven that over the last three or four years. But like the gaffer says, it could be a good result at the end of the season.”
Although keen to start a game, Hume had not expected to do so against the Canaries.
But he had done enough to impress Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders in the Stevenage encounter, and also in a behind-closed-door practice game on Monday, and he was the surprise choice to start alongside veteran Robbie Blake, making only his second start and played a full game and showed up well.
Hume’s attention after the game quickly turned to tomorrow’s League 0ne clash at Leyton Orient.
“We are unbeaten in our last three league games and we’ve got to go to Orient and try and pick up another result and to try and keep the run going.” he said.
“It’s a tough place to go but we’ve got to try and make it an easy place to go. If we let them get on top then it’s obviously going to be a tough game but I think with the players we’ve got here every game is there for the winning if we can put in the performance and the effort like we did in the second half against Stevenage.
“We finished strongly and they were hanging on at the end and if we can continue to play like that and do that in every game, and players like Chris Brown get their goals, then games are definitely there for the taking.
“If we approach the game on the front foot and we go out to win the game rather than not lose it, I think it is there for the winning.
“But they’ve brought in some decent players this year - Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook who have both played in Premiership football. They are going to be the threat, but at the end of the day we don’t have to worry about them. We’ve got some great players here; players who have made some really good careers out of the game.”
Although Rovers, who have a game in hand, are not currently in the top-six, Hume claims they are still regarded as being one of the big guns in League One.
“It all depends on how teams approach us,” he said. “People will look at playing Doncaster Rovers and think ‘this is a game we can’t lose in terms of promotion’ and will sit back regardless of whether they are at home.
“If, for instance, Orient come out and have a go at us but leave gaps we’ve got the players to exploit those gaps.
“Players like Cotts (David Cotterill), Brownie, myself and Benno (Kyle Bennett) can open up teams and it’s up to us to do it when we get the chance.”
Teams and ref
ROVERS (possible): G Woods; Quinn, Jones McCombe Spurr; Cotterill, M Woods/Harper, Syers, Bennett; Brown, Hume. (4-4-2).
ORIENT (possible): Allsop; McSweeney, Chorley, Clarke, Sawyer; Cox, Rowlands, Mooney, Cook; Lisbie, Brunt(4-4-2).
REFeree: Nigel Miller (Co Durham) Mr Miller, who will be taking charge of an O’s game for the fourth time in his career, has handed out 22 yellow cards.