Doncaster Rovers: Harper gets Flynn backing

Under fire: James Harper has come in for heavy criticism from supporters. Picture: DEAN ATKINS
Under fire: James Harper has come in for heavy criticism from supporters. Picture: DEAN ATKINS

BRIAN Flynn says not every player can be a fan favourite and accepts under-fire James Harper is one such figure.

The midfielder has come in for heavy criticism from a section of Rovers’ support, particularly following the 3-0 defeat at MK Dons on Tuesday.

But he has received backing from boss Flynn who is pleased with the 32-year-old’s part in the squad.

“In the short time I’ve been here as manager, I’ve seen that James is a good professional, he trains well and he wants to do his best for this club,” Flynn said.

“Looking back at Tuesday night, I don’t think it was his best performance but you could say that about quite a few of the lads.

“James is an experienced player and experience is valuable.

“Not everyone is going to be a fan favourite – Paul Keegan was not a fan favourite earlier in the season but he showed his qualities and became someone we need in the team.”

Flynn hinted Harper’s starting berth may be under threat against fellow promotion chasers Bournemouth today with loanee Cameron Howieson pushing for his first start.

Chris Brown is set to make a surprise early return to the Rovers squad after travelling to Bournemouth.

It was initially expected the striker would miss two months after suffering a knee ligament injury against Walsall last month.

But his recovery has been better than expected and he could play a part later today.

Flynn said: “Chris trained well all week this week and had no negative reactions.

“It’s a major boost to have him back so soon, I think we’ve missed him.

“He was doing a proper centre forward’s job, everything you want from a player in that position – leading the line, good in the air, good pace, getting goals. We’re all pleased that he’s coming back.”

Flynn insists his side must today keep the ball better than they did at MK Dons.

“Bournemouth have got talent up front and a lot of creativity in midfield so our control and retaining of possession has got to be better,” he said.

“We’re going to have to counterattack better than we did on Tuesday.

“It’ll be a big boost for either side to get something out of the game.”