Doncaster Rovers: Fringe benefits for boss as Calder, Middleton and Mandeville push hard for places

Riccardo Calder
Riccardo Calder

Darren Ferguson is delighted to have several young fringe players pushing hard for starting spots.

Riccardo Calder, dropped after a short stint at wing back, impressed at Mansfield in the Checkatrade Trophy and again as a substitute at Crewe on Saturday.

Youth team graduates Harry Middleton and Liam Mandeville are also giving Ferguson something to think about.

“There’s a few lads that are really pushing - there’s Middleton, Mandeville and Calder,” Ferguson told The Star.

“That’s what I want.

“They’ve grown, Mandeville certainly, and I thought Middleton was outstanding at Mansfield. He needed that game for his own confidence.

“Calder, by his own admission, didn’t have great games against Accrington and Crawley but there were maybe reasons for that and not just through him as an individual.

“We’ve changed the shape since then but I certainly feel he can push Tommy [Rowe] in that position, Tommy can play higher or Riccardo can maybe play on the right.

“I was pleased that at Mansfield he was really good and he had an impact when he came on at Crewe. I can’t ask for any more from the boy.

“I always say to players who aren’t starting ‘give me a problem’ and he’s doing that.”

He added: “I wouldn’t have any hesitation throwing either of them in, that wouldn’t bother me one bit. I think they’re really pushing.

“Obviously I brought Middleton and Calder on on Saturday, and I was about to bring Mandeville on when I thought Coppinger started influencing the game a bit more.

“They’re definitely pushing, amongst others. [Alfie] Beestin will be a little bit longer we think.”

Tyler Garratt is set to resume full training today following an ankle problem.