Arsenal’s Matt Smith has had an early setback in his loan move to Doncaster Rovers, contracting Covid to miss at least three or four games.

Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth Sky Bet League 1 Matt Smith of Charlton Athletic during the Sky Bet League 1 match at The Valley, London. Copyright: Ben Peters
Matt Smith on a previous loan with Charlton Athletic during a Sky Bet League 1 match at The Valley, London. Copyright: Ben Peters

Arsenal loan midfielder Matt Smith made his debut for Doncaster Rovers against AFC Wimbledon earlier this month, but he’s yet to feature in the couple of games since then, missing a cup trip to Walsall and a league match away to Sheffield Wednesday.

According to the Doncaster Free Press, Smith is set to miss the next couple of matches as well, as he completes his recovery from Covid-19. Teammate Charlie Seaman will also have to self-isolate, as they share a car.

Doncaster have already brought in five loanees this season, the maximum allowed in a match day squad. Before Smith’s positive test result was confirmed, manager Richie Wellens admitted that the influence of Covid may convince him to look at bringing in a sixth.

“I was no way going to go over the five, but if Covid is going to keep happening, I might need to go to six,” Wellens said. “That’s simply because Matt Smith might be missing for three games. He might come back and one of the loan players could get injured.

“I’m loathe to do it because if everyone is fit, it’s a problem. But at the moment not everybody is fit and there is something called Covid about which keeps taking players off me.”

Now that Smith has been ruled out and following Rovers’ second defeat in two league games, it certainly seems possible Wellens dips into the market, which wouldn’t be great news for the Arsenal man.

It’ll mean that every match the manager will have a decision to make over whether to include Smith in the squad at all, as one of the six loanees would need to be left out each game. Smith will hope to make a quick recovery and prove that an extra signing isn’t necessary.