A growth spurt could be behind the spate of injuries suffered by Doncaster Rovers striker Liam Mandeville, Darren Ferguson has revealed.
Mandeville has been ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring tear, mere days after returning to the squad following months of injury woe.
The 20-year-old has made just one substitute appearance and appeared in two other matchday squads since suffering a hamstring injury at Mansfield Town on New Year’s Eve.
During his one substitute appearance against Morecambe he rolled his ankle, keeping him out of action until returning to the bench for the trip to Leyton Orient earlier this month.
But a fresh hamstring injury – and to the other leg than the issue suffered at Mansfield – has prompted Rovers to look deeper into what could be causing Mandeville’s problems.
“We’ve looked at all the old records with him and we’re not actually sure whether he’s going through another growth spurt,” manager Ferguson told the Free Press.
“We’ve looked into it.
“It’s not as if he’s doing something that he shouldn’t be doing but there is a weakness in there.
“Either that or he’s just been incredibly unlucky.
“We’re trying to dig a bit deeper. If it’s a growth spurt that’s when you’d see the things we are seeing.
“We’re waiting on the outcome of that.
“We’ve scanned him and there is a problem in there in terms of there is a tear.
“But how that has happened is a bit of a mystery really and that’s twice now.
“We’ll try to get to the bottom of it.”
Injury issues have blighted what should have been an incredibly positive season for Mandeville.
Though he expected to be mainly a back-up player this term, he forced his way into Ferguson’s plans with impressive performances as an impact substitute before thriving in the absence of the injury-hit Andy Williams.
Mandeville’s goal against Mansfield on December 31 took him to ten for the season, so Ferguson is understandably disappointed to see him struggling to get off the sidelines.
He said: “Liam’s not kicked a ball since December 31.
“Where he was then he was the catalyst for us doing so well.
“I’m disappointed for him because he was on his way to having an excellent season.
“But he’ll come again, there’s no doubt about that.”
Rovers have concerns over Craig Alcock and Conor Grant heading towards this weekend’s trip to Grimsby Town.
Alcock and Grant suffered calf and groin issues respectively in Sunday’s defeat to Plymouth Argyle and are doubts for Saturday.