AUDIO: Manchester United youngster Sam’s the man who eased Rovers’ Turnbull woe

It says a great deal that of the three big absences for Rovers this weekend that Ross Turnbull’s provides the least severe headache.

That is Ross Turnbull, Rovers’ most reliable player this term who an overwhelming number of supporters cannot wait to see tied down to a new long-term contract.

Sam Johnstone has won 31 caps for England age groups

Sam Johnstone has won 31 caps for England age groups

No doubt plenty will have worried when the club’s number one was struck down with a calf injury that would rule him out for a month.

The fact those concerns have evaporated and most mind is given to the absences of Richie Wellens and Billy Sharp is testament to the immediate impact made by on loan Sam Johnstone.

A clean sheet on his Rovers debut against Middlesbrough was followed by a best-in-the-team performance for the Manchester United youngster in defeat at Brighton, despite not having to produce anything spectacular.

The pressure may have been piled on the 20-year-old’s shoulders but you would not know that from talking to him.

Johnstone shrugged off suggestions he might have felt nervous before his debut, especially with training time with his new team mates amounting to just one hour prior to the game.

“I’m just glad to be out playing,” the England age group regular told the Star.

“At 20, it’s great to be playing against top teams and good, experienced players.

“I’m enjoying it so far and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it for as long as I’m here.

“I think it was just another good point towards the clean sheet against Middlesbrough being good because I only managed an hour session with the lads on the Friday. It all happened that quickly.

“Going to the game was exciting and it gave me plenty of confidence, coming in and keeping a clean sheet.

“I think the windy weather might have helped me.”

Just days prior to his arrival at the Keepmoat, Johnstone had his future at Old Trafford secured by signing a new five year contract.

So when he says he has had a good month, there is no reason to doubt it.

He admits continuing his positivity has been helped by coming into a Rovers side who have shown increased defensive strength since the turn of the year.

“When I was told about the move they said they’d conceded just one goal in three games which was very positive for me,” Johnstone said. “The lads were full of confidence and you see that confidence in front of you.

“It makes you confident because you can trust them.

“They’re a good set of lads, good players and I think they’ll be alright this season.”

Johnstone will be on the front line for the side when it comes to facing the wrath of supporters of rivals Barnsley this weekend.

While he expects to receive some abuse, he insists he will not hear it.

He said: “It sounds strange but you don’t really notice the crowd.

“You’re purely concentrating on the game and what’s going on in front of you rather than what’s happening in the stands.

“I’m sure there will be a lively atmosphere and the lads are going in to win it.”