LONG-serving Adam Lockwood is hoping to get the chance to press his claims for a regular starting spot in the club’s back-four when Doncaster Rovers return to action at the KC Stadium on Tuesday.
Former Premier League star Habib Beye will miss the visit to the KC Stadium, as well as sitting out the home game against Reading and the trip to Selhurst Park, after being controversially sent-off for an alleged two-footed tackle in Saturday’s game against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Lockwood stood in for Beye, who was serving a one-match ban, in the club’s 2-0 FA Cup third round defeat against Notts County, but was back on the bench for the Championship game against Cardiff City the following week.
He also started Saturday’s game at Ashton Gate on the bench but was brought on by manager Dean Saunders for striker James Hayter after 32 minutes to bolster the back-four following Beye’s departure.
The Wakefield-born defender, who joined Rovers from Yeovil in 2006, helped the side deny the Robins another goal in the 2-1 defeat.
Despite having being a consistent performer over the years, the unassuming centre-back is taking nothing for granted in his battle with the fit-again Shelton Martis.
“You never know (what is going to happen),” said Lockwood, who only returned to action in November after more than six months on the sidelines following knee surgery.
He will no doubt sympathise with Beye having picked up a three-match ban himself, but will also realise that he has to make the most of any opportunity to impress.
“I always try and force my way into the team and make myself available as does everybody else in the squad.”
Adding to Rovers’ frustration at the result were wins for several of their rivals which left them five points adrift of fourth-bottom Ipswich Town.
“We can’t do anything about what other teams do,” said Lockwood. “We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and be confident about what we can do and achieve. No-one can help us bar ourselves.
“I think we showed on Saturday, where we also lost James Coppinger through injury early on, that when things go against us that we can still stick in there and put in a good performance.
“It showed, particularly after we had done down to 10 men, that we have the pride to keep going when not many people would have given us much of a chance.”
Although Rovers pulled a goal back through El Hadji Diouf on 75 minutes, and went close to a late equaliser through leading scorer Billy Sharp, they ended up going down to a sixth successive away defeat.
“Some teams in our situation on Saturday would probably have just thought about damage limitation at half-time but we still wanted to try and get something out of the game,” said Lockwood.
“I don’t think you can put your finger on any one reason why our away record is like it is; I look for us to try and win every game I take part in, home or away.
“But every team you play give you different challenges, so every game is different whether you are at home or away. We prepare thoroughly for every game and that approach won’t change.
“It’s going to be tough at Hull but, as I keep saying, they are all tough in this league.”
Like his team-mates, Lockwood is frustrated at having to wait 10 days between games.
“If you lose you can’t wait to go out and try and win your next game and I’m sure every team in the country would say that.”