Skipper Rob Jones’ boots take some filling - but Harry Forrester says Andy Butler has been the ideal replacement.
Butler is yet to feature in a losing team at Doncaster since joining his hometown club on loan from Sheffield United, helping to plug the sizeable gap left by Jones’ injury-ruined start to the season.
With Butler at the heart of the defence, Rovers have drawn with MK Dons and beaten Bradford City, Weston-super-Mare and Rochdale - and they will hope that run continues at Crewe tomorrow.
Forrester, for one, is not surprised the former Walsall captain’s arrival has coincided with Rovers’ recent upturn in form.
And the forward says it is not just Doncaster’s defenders who are benefitting from Butler’s experience at the back.
“He’s a leader. He knows the league very well,” Forrester told The Star.
“He’s experienced and he gets the lads going.
“We’ve probably missed that a bit with the skip [Rob Jones] being out injured.
“But Andy’s probably helped get everyone together and galvanised.
“He’s a winner, and that helps.
“We’ve got a young back four. People forget that,” he added.
“So when you’ve got someone there just to steady the ship and organise from the back it helps the rest of us.”
Forrester has had to settle for second half cameo appearances in the last two games but says the current competition for places at Rovers is a sign that things are healthy.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for me personally,” he said, reflecting on this season so far.
“I’ve been on the bench for the last couple of games and that’s never where I want to be but the boys are doing well and as long as the team are getting results that’s the main thing.
“The competition for places is good and we thrive off that.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s trip to Gresty Road, Forrester added: “They might try and hit us on the counter attack, which is something we’ve been working on.
“But it’s all about us. We know we’ve got enough in the dressing room and we’re looking to get back-to-back [league] wins which we haven’t done often enough.
“If we get on a run over Christmas, and there’s a lot of games coming up, we’ll move right up the table.”