Doncaster Rovers: Dickov calls International Rescue

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate

Paul Dickov has called ‘International Rescue’ to bolster numbers for Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield United.

Luke McCullough and Sam Johnstone should both be available after Dickov sent out an SOS to their respective international bosses Michael O’Neill and Gareth Southgate.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Rovers already stood to be without defender Andy Butler this weekend, with the on-loan Blades defender ineligible to play against his parent club.

Dean Furman is also away on international duty with South Africa.

However, McCullough could still feature for his club side despite being named in Northern Ireland’s squad for their Euro 2016 qualifier in Romania on Friday night - following a special request from Dickov.

Similarly, Johnstone is also available after Doncaster requested that the on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper was omitted from the England Under 21 squad for their friendly double bill with Portugal and France.

With Rob Jones and Cedric Evina sidelined through injury, the availability of the pair has avoided a potential defensive crisis.

Dickov said: “There was a bit of work done last week when there were a few phone calls made.

“I’m very grateful to Gareth Southgate [England Under 21 boss]. I had a long conversation with him and he’s kindly allowed Sam Johnstone to stay with us.

“It was a slightly different conversation I had with Michael O’Neill, the Northern Ireland manager.

“They’ve got a game away in Romania but he’s promised me that Luke [McCullough] will be back as quickly as he can.

“Whether he’ll be able to start the game, I don’t know. But we’re hopeful that Sam and Luke will be available for the game.

“Gareth and Michael have been as helpful as they can,” he added.

“Sometimes if you don’t ask, you don’t get, so we’re thankful we’ve made those phone calls.”

Jamie McCombe, who has not featured since the home defeat to Leyton Orient, is in line to deputise for Butler.

Reece Wabara or Liam Wakefield could replace McCullough, whose condition will be assessed on Saturday morning following his late night flight home from Romania.

Nathan Tyson is hoping to be fit after tweaking his medial knee ligament at Bradford.