PAUL DICKOV COLUMN (+AUDIO): There is always something to play for in football

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We reach this stage of the season and talks begins of teams being split between those having something to play for and others that have nothing.

But there is always something to play for in football.

Your team might not be fighting for promotion or battling relegation but every player is playing for their future. A lot of players at Doncaster are playing for their livelihoods next year.

We are still looking to secure our place in the Championship next season but individually the players should be doing all they can to make sure we stay in the division because that has a massive effect on what I can and can’t do with contracts for next year.

The same thing applies if you have nothing to play for as a team. I would be watching them even more at that stage to see what their reactions are. Are they already on the beach or are they showing me they should definitely be in my team next season. That would help me decide whether to sign other players his summer.

The thing you are playing for constantly is to prove yourself. I demand from my players the same thing I demand from myself. I have to prove myself every day. I have to try and better myself and if I want to be successful, I have to earn that. I expect the same from them and I expect it every day.

There are different pressures on the teams who do have something to play for whether they are at the top or bottom.

When you’re down towards the bottom, the pressure is massive. People expect you to stay down there but you’ve got to fight for your lives.

I feel when you’re fighting for a way out there is pressure to target certain teams above you. With us being out and trying to get clear, we can take each game as it comes, see what result we get and then looking at other teams.

On the flipside, we play Ipswich and Derby in the next two games, both want in the play offs and both want momentum.

There is pressure on them but they’ll be going into games with a lot of confidence and on a roll after the results they’ve picked up.

On Saturday the pressure on Ipswich will be the expectation of getting the win. For us there is the opportunity to play with a little bit of freedom because we’re not expected to get anything.

Everyone will be looking at the game and thinking it’s an Ipswich win – except us.