MATCH PREVIEW: Understudies must perform if Rovers are to keep up act at Brighton

Dean Furman will be under pressure to perform on understudy duty.
Dean Furman will be under pressure to perform on understudy duty.

It might not be enough to derail the positive feeling currently oozing out of the camp but a potential double absence for Rovers will raise concerns this weekend.

A tenth yellow card for Richie Wellens rules him out of the Brighton trip plus the follow up against Barnsley.

But the absence problem could be exacerbated should Paul Keegan fail to recover from the thigh issue which saw him withdrawn at half time against Middlesbrough.

Both men have been key to Rovers’ current positvity – Wellens the classy, tempo-setting metronome and Keegan the reliable destroyer who gives his team mates freedom to peform.

Without Keegan, Rovers have looked nervous in possession. Without Wellens they lack composure when under pressure in midfield.

Likely to get the nod in Wellens’ place is Dean Furman, with Marc De Val waiting in the wings should Keegan not be fit.

Neither man has proved to be much more than adequate replacements for Rovers’ main central duo so there is likely to be a noticeable difference.

Saturday’s opponents Brighton favour a 4-3-3 system ensuring whoever lines up in Rovers’ midfield must be on their game to help their side avoid being overrun.

Strong defensive work from wide men James Coppinger and Mark Duffy will also be required, helping to track the extra man in central midfield as well as combating the wide threat Brighton generally bring.

After seeing his side beat Brighton 2-0 last weekend, Watford boss Beppe Sannino felt the secret to success was due to the Hornets’ pressing game and intensity.

Rovers have shown on a number of occasions this season how good they can be at this aspect of the game.

And they will need to be just as good at the Amex if they are not to spend the afternoon chasing shadows against a side who like to pass the ball.

A side’s intensity is driven from central midfield so plenty of responsibility is set to fall on Rovers’ understudies.

Verdict: Draw