Donny adapting well to Championship

Thursday 3rd October 2013 21:50

Chris Brown: Celebrates one of Doncaster's goals this season

Chris Brown: Celebrates one of Doncaster's goals this season

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Doncaster FanZone Daniel Nice is happy with the club's start to the season in the Championship and believes they have merited even more points.

It is not hard to see why managers find themselves under pressure early in the football season. The league table is now produced from the first minute of the first game, including a dotted line to indicate those who find themselves in the drop zone if they concede the first goal of the campaign.

It is still early days but now the Championship is 10 games old, I think the time is right to have a look into Doncaster Rovers' start to the season.

The fact we have actually only played nine games tell its own story, as Rovers were cruelly denied a deserved three points from a game at Charlton Athletic that was farcically abandoned.

Conditions were no worse at the end than when the referee restarted the game, and I would like to have seen him be that brave had Charlton been leading 3-0 at the time he took the players from the field that first time.

With those points disappearing into thin air for the time being, Rovers have gathered nine points from their first nine games. Our performances have merited more, but a lot of teams will be saying that, so we have to face the reality of the situation.

Given we have already played many sides who have started very well, it represents a decent opening for us. We have been competitive in all games, and I have been very impressed with Paul Dickov's start as manager.

Performances have been encouraging, and if you stopped all of our league games at the 85-minute mark, there has been no more than a one-goal margin in eight of them. That means we have more than held our own - indeed, the only game where there were two goals between sides was in one of our victories, against Blackburn Rovers.

As well as losing the points at The Valley, a number of teams have snatched points off us late in the day. Of the 12 goals we have conceded, six of those have come after the 80-minute mark - and five have been after 87 minutes.

Unfortunately that is the sign that we have stepped up a level. Last season, we scored a lot of late goals as we won the league. This year, the hunter will become the hunted, because money in the Championship buys you a) quality and b) squad depth - and that helps you win games late on.

Some people put it down to fitness and concentration levels but I don't think that's the case. If you go through our Championship record in the last few years, I am sure you will find this trend of late goals under three different managers. It is not their fault, or the players, in my opinion. It is just the way it is.

This is the same with a third factor, decisions from the officials. I am a firm believer that referees are human and make honest mistakes but as we have found so far, decisions tend to go against the smaller clubs at each level. The decision at Charlton, together with a terrible penalty call with two minutes to go at Watford, are prime examples of this.

We have to be prepared for some of the heartache that will come in this division. The important thing is that we remain competitive, continue to play the right way, and put disappointment behind us.

I am confident that will happen. Dickov is a good motivator, he speaks well in the media, and he is from the school that puts one result to bed as soon as it happens. So win, lose, draw or abandonment, he takes the positives and looks ahead. I like that.

A lot of Oldham fans were dubious at his appointment but I saw Oldham a number of times last season and liked what I saw. Appointing managers based on their previous job is often foolhardy - some would never get another job if you judge things purely on records while others get hopelessly over-rated - and John Ryan has seen beyond the struggles of a club with little resources and made a good appointment for us.

Dickov has good contacts and has brought in a number of good players, including loanees Reece Wabara, Bongani Khumalo and Federico Macheda, while fans favourite Richie Wellens has been back to boss the midfield. Wellens will come across old club Leicester on Saturday, in a game that always has greater significance for me.

I live in Leicester and will have to deal with no end of grief if the Foxes emerge from the Keepmoat with three more points!

I am realistic about it all. Leicester have invested heavily and have a squad that should have been promoted a while ago, whereas our starting XI on Tuesday cost around £100,000 to assemble.

Leicester should be coming to Doncaster and expecting to win, whereas we have nothing to lose.



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