The on-loan Cardiff City front man has featured twice as a late substitute in back-to-back defeats but is now being primed for action from the start in a game Dougie Freedman’s side can ill-afford to lose.
Whilst last weekend’s reverse against Middlesbrough at the Riverside was seen as a stumble, emerging empty-handed against Huddersfield at home in midweek has been viewed dimly by Reebok regulars.
Freedman hopes the introduction of the 22-year-old can ignite an attack that also has failed to score in its last two outings – and lift a mood that has deteriorated quickly inside seven days.
“I can’t get too emotional about the situation but I honestly think we should have been leading against Huddersfield,” he told The Bolton News. “The longer you don’t take chances, the more of a risk you run.
“We didn’t sustain the pressure but I have players in my squad that can change that.
“I worked very hard to get Joe Mason here on loan and I think it’s only right that he gets some game time.
“He will start the game on Saturday and hopefully give us that bit of intensity needed at the top because if you don’t take your chances, your opponents are going to get one of their own somewhere down the line.
Hopefully, with young Joe coming into the team it can give us a bit of intensity to back those chances up.”
Freedman confirmed Alex Baptiste did not miss the Huddersfield defeat because of injury and is free to face Rovers, while Chris Eagles has also recovered from a minor groin problem and could make the bench.
The Whites boss has made no secret of the fact he will pitch Mason in from the start against Doncaster, however, and feels the Ireland Under-21 star will be itching to prove a point to his parent club.
“One of the key factors in signing Joe is that he’s hungry,” he said. “He probably wants to prove to himself he can score goals regularly at this level but also somewhere in his mind thinking that if I do well at Bolton then I might just save Cardiff from buying anyone in January.
“For us, and I said this with Neil Danns, we can benefit from that hunger. It might not be where we want to be longer term but in the short term, loans can help us.”