Doncaster Rovers: Dickov opts for ‘softly, softly’ approach this Christmas

Paul Dickov

Paul Dickov

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He may have built a reputation as a manager who runs his players hard on the training pitch but Paul Dickov is taking the softly, softly approach for Christmas.

But before the squad rejoices at a festive miracle, Dickov has not had an Ebenezer Scrooge-like change of ways.

Instead, the Rovers boss is plotting a way to get his patched-up squad through the intensive period of games which is approaching.

“It’s been about looking after the players physically over the past couple of weeks,” Dickov said.

“We were hit with quite a few injuries all at once and we didn’t want to be heading into this period with even more.

“Training-wise, we’ve been working more on the tactical and technical sides of things than the physical side.

“We don’t want to flog the lads too much with the amount of games we’ve got coming up.

“We want them to be as fresh as they can be.

“But getting that is hard sometimes, especially when you’re playing games Saturday-Tuesday for a few weeks.

“It’s operating on that fine line when it comes to the work we put into them.”

Dickov believes early in the New Year his squad will be as close to full fitness as it has been at any stage this season.

Harry Forrester and Yun Suk-Young are expected to push for places in the squad for Saturday’s trip to on-form Derby.

Paul Keegan is another player likely to come back into contention over the Christmas period.

Rovers’ youngsters are on the quest for a place in the FA Youth Cup fourth round tonight but one of the top sides in the competition stand in their way.

Paul Stancliffe’s side travel to face their Manchester City counterparts at Hyde FC tonight (7pm).

City currently top the Barclay’s U18 Premier League under the guidance of former Blackburn winger Jason Wilcox.

Rovers will be attempting to end their big name hosts’ formidable recent record of eight consecutive wins with 31 goals netted in the process.

Staincliffe’s men sit fourth in the Football League Alliance North East Conference after drawing 1-1 with Chesterfield on Saturday.

The winner will go on to host either AFC Bournemouth or Hereford United in the fourth round.