Tyreece John-Jules continued his run in the Doncaster Rovers starting line-up this past Saturday, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat away at Wigan Athletic.
John-Jules led the line as a sole striker once again and was an active presence throughout the game. Conditions were horrendous at the DW Stadium with rain pouring down consistently for most of the match, making it tough for either side to build much of a rhythm in their play.
Rovers nevertheless got on the front foot and spent much of the first half as the superior side, with John-Jules presented with one of the first clear-cut opportunities to score. Standing on the penalty spot, he took aim when a rebound fell at his feet but leant back after his first touch and blazed the shot over the crossbar.
Although that was the best chance he himself had in the game, John-Jules continued to contribute to attacks by peeling off into the channel on both sides and linking up with teammates, notably when working off the right flank with Jon Taylor to set up a James Coppinger effort that was well saved, and then in applying a deft flick-on to overlapping full-back Reece James, whose cross was almost converted by Taylor.
John-Jules is building a keen understanding within the team and his role is becoming more important with each passing game. Despite Rovers’ profligacy coming back to bite them in this game as Wigan won thanks to a second-half header from Joe Garner, John-Jules can be pleased with his performance in tricky conditions.
On Tuesday night, attention turned to the EFL Trophy and a trip to Oldham in similarly dismal playing conditions. Once again John-Jules was named in the starting line-up, this time in a two-striker formation alongside Fejiri Okenabirhie, but again the team was punished for lacklustre finishing and eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat.
It was the young striker who had arguably the best chance for Rovers in the game, as he found space in the six-yard box to head James Coppinger’s first-half corner on target, only to see Oldham goalkeeper Ian Lawlor – a player actually on loan from Doncaster – save his effort with a quick reflex stop.
That was unfortunately as good as it got on a night in which the team failed to inspire, and although John-Jules was partnered in attack for a change it did not lead to him earning many other big chances to score in the 90 minutes that he played.
Tyreece will now link up with the England U20s squad for the international break, a big honour that speaks to how strong a start he has made in his first month at Doncaster Rovers.
Thanks to Adam of Into The Empty Net for providing this report.