DONCASTER manager Sean O’Driscoll has hailed one-time Town target James Hayter, right, ahead of Sunday’s Sky showdown in South Yorkshire.
The ex-Bournemouth man, who turned down the chance of a Galpharm move because he didn’t want to come North, was finally lured up the A1 by his old Dean Court boss in the close-season.
O’Driscoll splashed out £200,000, but so far has been rewarded with only three goals, the latest in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Luton.
The manager remains confident Hayter’s strike rate will rise, saying: “He works his socks off and is always a threat. He also makes a big contribution off the ball week in, week out.”
Meanwhile Isle of Wight product Hayter, who was 11 years at Bournemouth, has blamed Doncaster’s sluggish start to the season on a long list of injuries.
Defender Graeme Lee (knee), Northern Ireland international midfielder Kevin Horlock (shoulder) and striker Mark McCammon (hamstring) are long-term absentees, and therefore ruled out of Sunday’s derby alongside suspended striker Lewis Guy.
And defender Gareth Roberts (groin), midfielder Steve Roberts (leg) and striker Paul Heffernan (groin) are under treatment from John Dickens, the former Town physio, and rated only 50:50.
But Hayter, 28, is convinced Rovers, who are currently 16th, will start to climb the table once O’Driscoll can field a settled side.
“We’ve got to find consistency, which is the main thing in this league,” he said.
“If we do that then we’ll push up the table and be where we want to be. The injuries certainly haven’t helped us. We’ve not had a settled side, which is disappointing.”
Doncaster (from): Sullivan, O'Connor, McDaid, S Roberts, Lockwood, Mills, Stock, Wilson, Wellens, Hayter, Coppinger, Hird, Price, Green, Greer, G Roberts, Heffernan, Woods, Smith. Nelthorpe.
Town (from): Glennon, Hardy, Skarz, Keogh, N Clarke, Mirfin, Holdsworth, Collins, Wallwork, Young, Kamara, Brandon, Schofield, Cadamarteri, Beckett, Booth, Racchi, Berrett. Akins, Smithies.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).