Martis ready to play

Big presence: Shelton Martis is available to return for Rovers.    Picture: Steve taylor
Big presence: Shelton Martis is available to return for Rovers. Picture: Steve taylor

Doncaster Rovers’ defensive resources have got a double boost with Shelton Martis available again and George Friend putting himself back in the frame after injury.

Martis could well figure in the plans of manager Dean Saunders as he finalises preparations for tomorrow’s home game with Derby County as Rovers look to kick on in their relegation battle.

The big defender missed the midweek draw with Reading after picking up a groin injury at West Ham last Saturday but Saunders expects him to confirm that he is ok again.

“Hopefully he’ll be available and Shelton is a big presence in the box at corners and set-pieces,” said Saunders.

“No disrespect to Sam Hird who I thought did well the other night but Shelton has the height and has done well too. We did struggle with Ian Harte’s delivery at set-pieces on Tuesday although that delivery really was excellent.”

Saunders revealed that he had had a chat with Martis.

“He’s missed a lot of games and training, his family’s back in Holland but he’s knuckled down and got his chance and in the previous four games he has been consistent.

“As for George, he’s a great character and wants to do well but he’s got to fight his way back in.

“Recently we have had more of a settled team and, whenever you get results, that tends to happen because you’re not searching for the right formula.”

Saunders believes there is a growing belief in the Rovers camp over their relegation fight - a belief bolstered by the draws in the last two games against the team who were second (West Ham) and then against the team who replaced them (Reading).

It took the unbeaten run to five although Saunders knows that they need to get wins under the belt as they prepare for two successive home games with the Derby one followed by a visit from Millwall next Tuesday.

“I’m sure that six wins will save us and it doesn’t matter where we get them but we have our destiny back in our hands,” said Saunders.

He believes they should have posted wins recently and feels he has the players who can get the goals. “Our front six has goals in them, they have shown they can score,” he said.

“We’ve got players like Kyle Bennett, James Coppinger, getting into the six yard box to score, something I’ve been urging them to do.”