DONCASTER Rovers will have on-loan striker Jon Parkin on debut in tomorrow’s Championship game against in-form Crystal Palace at the Keepmoat Stadium.
It will be the out-of-favour Cardiff City striker’s first league start of the season and he is keen to make up for lost time and help Rovers climb out of the bottom three during his initial month’s loan.
“I’m surprised to see Rovers down there because they are a really good footballing team,” said the 29 year-old 6ft 4in striker whose nickname is ‘The Beast.’
“I saw them when they played Cardiff down in Wales earlier this month and although they got beat 2-0 for much of the game there wasn’t much between the two sides so hopefully we can get our heads down and grind some results out.
“You could argue performance doesn’t really matter in the club’s situation; it’s all about getting points on the board.
“It’s a fine balance. Obviously the better you play the more chance you have of winning the game.”
Despite only having trained with his new team-mates twice, Parkin says he is familiar with their style of football.
“The gaffer has been here for a few years so they’ve been playing the same way since he came; I think everyone knows what a good foot-balling side they are.
“Obviously I’ve seen James (Hayter) play over the years and hopefully we can strike up a good partnership. It will be the same if I play with Billy (Sharp). He’s a proven scorer at this level so the quicker he gets back the better for the team.”
Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly, who stood in for manager Sean O’Driscoll at yesterday afternoon’s press conference, hinted that Sharp’s return to the squad could be as early as next week.
Ryan Mason is contention for the first time since suffering ankle ligament damage in the second game of the season.
But there is a question mark against left-back Tommy Spurr (groin).
But O’Kelly knows all eyes will be on Barnsley-born Parkin.
“He’s a Doncaster Rovers’ player through and through,” he said. “He’s technically very good, he’s very intelligent and he’s got a good insight into the game.”
Assessing the threat posed by Palace, O’Kelly said: “They’ve added to what they had last season with two or three new signings and they are a well balanced side and very organised. They go away from home and make it difficult for the opposition by defending well and then breaking play up and then hitting you on the counter.”