Paul Dickov says he does not feel under any extra pressure to pick Dean Furman despite him taking over as captain of South Africa.
The 26-year-old midfielder earned rave reviews for Bafana Bafana in their recent AFCON qualifiers with Sudan and Nigeria but has not featured for Doncaster since the home defeat to Leyton Orient more than a month ago.
Furman has been appointed captain of his country following the death of former skipper Senzo Meyiwa who was shot dead in October - and his profile in his native country has risen considerably since taking the armband.
However, Dickov says the former Oldham schemer must earn his place in the Rovers engine room following the club’s recent turn-around in form, and says the switch to 4-4-2 with Richie Wellens and Paul Keegan in central midfield has helped the team become more solid.
Asked if he felt under more pressure to pick Furman, Dickov said: “No, not at all.
“Dean’s missed a couple of games recently because of internationals but before that Dean played the majority of games for me.
“Before I left him out of the team he was up there in terms of being the midfielder with the most appearances.
“Dean knows what I think of him,” he added.
“Reverting back to the 4-4-2 with Keegs [Paul Keegan] and Richie [Wellens] in there has worked to a certain extent.
“Within those games we’ve looked a lot more solid, and we’ve also looked like picking points up.
“So it’s up to Dean, and also Marc De Val and the rest of them, to force their way back in there and, like always, for the ones in the team to show me they’re worth the shirt.”
Furman will miss a chunk of Rovers games in the new year after South Africa sealed their place at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with a victory against Sudan.
The tournament, recently switched from Morocco to Equatorial Guinea, will take place between January 17 and February 8 next year.
Dickov, meanwhile, may be affored the very rare luxury of naming an unchanged side at Crewe tomorrow when Rovers hope to record their first back-to-back league wins of the season.
Rovers have no fresh injury concerns.
Cedric Evina could be added to the squad after coming through 45 minutes for the under-21s in Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Rotherham at Cantley Park.