Tyreece John-Jules isn’t scoring too many goals at the moment, despite nailing down his spot in the Doncaster Rovers team on loan.

Doncaster Rovers v Bristol Rovers EFL Sky Bet League 1 26/09/2020. Tyreece John-Jules during the EFL Sky Bet League 1 match between Doncaster Rovers and Bristol Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, England on 26 September 2020. Copyright: Dave Lofthouse
Tyreece John-Jules during the EFL Sky Bet League 1 match between Doncaster Rovers and Bristol Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, England on 26 September 2020. Copyright: Dave Lofthouse

John-Jules has cooled a little in front of goal during a tricky period in which Doncaster Rovers have seen games postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak, although he does appear to be winning the battle to be the side’s main central striking option.

Before the club’s enforced winter break over Christmas and New Year, John-Jules featured from the bench in a 3-1 win away at bottom of the table Burton Albion, playing 23 minutes in a comprehensive win. Although only on the pitch for a short time, he became the focal point of Rovers’ attacking intent and did well to win a number of free kicks high up the field before seeing a late attempt on goal blocked well after he worked space in the area.

That cameo was enough to convince Darren Moore to restore John-Jules to the starting XI for the home game against Shrewsbury three days before Christmas, but a four-match winning run came to an end as the Shrews departed with a 1-0 win. John-Jules played the whole 90 minutes but was among the most frustrated of attacking players unable to find a route to goal, seeing several opportunities go begging – most notably a fine close-range header ten minutes from time that was tipped over the crossbar.

Twice in the first half as well, John-Jules laid on good passes to set up chances only for his teammates to miss, but in the second half he was perhaps the main culprit of failing to take the chances that came his way, hitting a shot from the edge of the box straight at the Shrewsbury keeper and putting another shot wide. It was a frustrating evening for Rovers and for John-Jules in particular, although he did work hard for the team and showed plenty of commitment.

The team unfortunately did not play again for almost three weeks afterwards due to a Covid outbreak in the squad, with John-Jules not reported to be one of the players affected. He retained his starting place as the lone centre-forward for last Saturday’s FA Cup 3rd Round game away at Championship side Blackburn Rovers, with strike partner Fejiri Okenabirhie deployed out wide instead, but it proved a quiet afternoon for the young Arsenal man.

Rovers spent the majority of the game on the back foot against superior opposition, however it was John-Jules who had the away side’s best opportunity of the opening period when he played a deft one-two pass with Taylor Richards and ran on to go clean through, only to be thwarted by the onrushing Aynsley Pears in the Blackburn net as he stretched to finish left-footed.

He then returned the favour for Richards on another lovely passing move through the middle, only for Richards to skew his effort wide of the far post. It was Richards who scored what proved to be the only goal of the game on a solo effort just before half time, and the slim lead meant Rovers spent the bulk of the second period defending resolutely against a Blackburn onslaught.

This meant little in the way of opportunities for John-Jules, who performed his defensive duties well but wasn’t able to carve out another shot on goal for himself. Overall, he now appears to be Darren Moore’s preferred option up front with Okenabirhie being used as a wide forward more often, and that has proved a sensible decision so far with John-Jules able to link well through the centre of the park with those around him and get behind defences to stay active in front of goal.

Report by Into The Empty Net, a Doncaster Rovers fan website found at @DRFC_ITEN on Twitter