Ilunga set to return

Set for talks: Rovers' ex-loan player Herita Ilunga may rejoin them and face his old club West Ham
Set for talks: Rovers' ex-loan player Herita Ilunga may rejoin them and face his old club West Ham

DONCASTER Rovers could have former West Ham United defender Herita Ilunga on duty for them against his former club in tomorrow’s game at Upton Park.

Ilunga, who spent several months on loan at the Keepmoat Stadium in the first half of the season, has since left the Hammers after agreeing a settlement for the remainder of his contract. He trained with Rovers yesterday after being contacted by Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders on Wednesday following the injury to left-back Tommy Spurr in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

“He’s been training with Leyton Orient but he’s not as fit as he was because he hasn’t played for a month,” said Saunders.

“But we’ve got a lot of important games coming up and with George Friend still injured apart from young James Husband we’ve got no cover. I don’t want to play a right-back there, like I had to do on Tuesday when Tommy came off.

“Hopefully Tommy will be fit. But if he isn’t then hopefully we’ve got someone who can come in for him.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up and I don’t want to be under-strength. I’ll be sitting down with Ilunga and see if we can strike up a deal.”

Even if Spurr is fit Saunders will have to make at least one change with new loan signing Frederic Piquionne not allowed to play against his parent club. The Rovers’ boss also hinted that he could make other changes in view of the fact that the club host third-placed Reading in a rearranged match on Tuesday.

“We’ve got two tough back-to-back games but we’ll be trying to win them both,” he claimed.

Rovers take on the second-placed Hammers, whose home form has been nowhere near ads good as on their travels, in confident mood after claiming their first away win in four months at the City Ground.

“It was a great result for the club because we got some reward for the hard work that we’ve been putting in recent weeks,” said Saunders.

“We are unbeaten in our last three games and, as I say, we’ll be going there looking to pick up three points; I’m not really interested in looking for a draw.

“The players we had out on the pitch on Tuesday night are more than good enough to go there and win and that will be the message I’ll be giving them. They’ve got Premier League players throughout their side but so have we if you look at the team which played against Forest.

“If we are to win we need to do the fundamentals right and not shoot ourselves in the foot.

“We’ve also got to be organised, as we have been, and the players have got to work hard and, obviously, we need a bit of luck.”