Rovers must rally over Easter

Thursday 17th April 2014 14:32

Paul Dickov: Must rally his troops over Easter

Paul Dickov: Must rally his troops over Easter

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Doncaster FanZoner Rich Colby believes Championship safety can be secured by avoiding defeat over the Easter weekend.

Being a Doncaster Rovers fan never seems to be dull, which isn't a bad thing. The large majority of seasons consist of either a push for promotion, or a relegation battle. This year is no different and two games in four days over Easter weekend will define how our season finishes.

Up to now this has been a successful season. I don't think any Rovers fan can or will deny that.

Purely based on budget and squad size, Paul Dickov has done an excellent job. But now he needs to finish off the hard work everyone at the club has put in over the previous 42 games.

So first up: Derby County at the Keepmoat Stadium on Good Friday.

Rovers will certainly hope it is a good Friday because Derby have had an excellent season. The Rams are virtually guaranteed a play-off place and remain in with a remote chance of automatic promotion. Any kind of slip up at the Keepmoat would mean Derby's top-two hopes are over, so Steve McClaren and his men won't be preparing for the play-offs just yet.

From a Rovers perspective, three points should keep them in the Championship for another season. Even a draw in my opinion would be a good result. The objective is simple: do not lose.

The it is on to Bank Holiday Monday - Millwall at The New Den.

This is the big one in many fans eyes. As it stands Rovers on 43 points, Millwall on 40 points. It will be a high pressure game, but only if we make it that way.

Providing Millwall don't beat Middlesbrough on Good Friday, they are the ones who have to win. They will have to come out and attack from the start. How we handle the pressure of the game will determine the result. We are more than capable of controlling the game and pinching a goal on the break. My only worry is if we defend too deep and go behind. If this happens then the odds are against us. I read recently that we have gained just six points from a winning position this season.

The above is all ifs, buts and maybes, though. The good thing is that our destiny is in our own hands. We cant ask for much more as a fanbase than that.

What we also need to remember is that there are another two games after Derby and Millwall, but these are against Reading, who are still battling with at least five other clubs for a play-off berth, and Leicester, the likely champions.

I cant see either of them easing up against us. Reading will be focused on not letting that play-off place slip and Leicester will want to put on a show in their last game in the Championship.

That is why I feel that the Derby and Millwall games will define our season.

After 46 games I'll use the old cliche: The league table doesn't lie. And it is true.

If we don't finish the hard work we started in August over the Easter period, teams around us pick up the required results and we don't, then we deserve to go down.

I wrote my last blog after we had just been humiliated 5-0 in Bournemouth. Looking at the fixtures to the end of the season I estimated that we needed 16 points to survive and I was struggling a little to see where we would get them. In typical Rovers fashion we went and picked up 13 points in the next six games.

We do appear to be suffering a little burnout, though, coming up to the final hurdle of a long race. The first half of the Birmingham game was again going well until we capitulated in spectacular fashion in the second half and slumped to a 3-1 defeat which we don't quite seem to have recovered from.

Injuries are beginning to bite hard with the losses of Richie Wellens, James Husband, Bongani Khumalo and Lucas Neill. But now is the time to get back on the horse for a big Easter weekend.

Avoid defeat and in my opinion, the Rovers faithful will be watching Championship football for another season.

Anyone who has been a Doncaster Rovers supporter for as long as I have will know that we probably wont make it easy, but that's all part of the attraction.

By Rich Colby, FanZone's Doncaster Rovers blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @rich_colby - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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