sport

De Val earns Dickov praise

Marc De Val was saluted by Doncaster boss Paul Dickov after starting his third league game for the club in a 1-1 draw with Preston.

The former Real Madrid C youngster nearly capped his rare start with an audacious goal as his second-half free-kick from 40 yards nearly caught out North End keeper Jamie Jones.

Last season was a frustrating one for the 24-year-old after moving to South Yorkshire from the Bernabeu, appearing just five times in total as he struggled with injury and acclimatising to his new surroundings.

But he has appeared on every teamsheet so far this term and Rovers boss Dickov has been delighted with the progress he has made.

"He did ever so well," insisted Dickov. "He's been patient and he's listened to us. The one thing he's got is quality on the ball. He had an inkling before to play that killer ball every time he had it, but now he's got in his head the way we want to play.

"He's got to know his team-mates, his English has got much better and I thought he was outstanding, along with Kyle Bennett."

Dickov also revealed he is contemplating sticking with Reece Wabara at centre-back for the visit to Colchester on Saturday after the right-back filled in impressively after skipper Rob Jones left the field with a neck injury after just 10 minutes.

"It might have surprised a few people, but Reece did that job for me at Oldham a couple of times and I've also seen him play there for Manchester City's development squad," said Dickov on his decision to move Wabara to the middle and bring on sub Liam Wakefield at right-back.

"He's composed on the ball, quick and he's a good defender - that was the thinking behind that. And Liam filled in at full-back quite a few times in the summer."

With Jones joining fellow centre-half Jamie McCombe in the Rovers treatment room, Dickov suggested he may delve into the loan market, although he also admitted he has faith in the four defenders who finished the match with Preston.

He went on: "We might dip in, but I thought the back four did really well and it would be difficult to take one of them out. Yes they're young and yes they're experienced, but all four of them showed maturity beyond their years."