THE saying ‘out with the old and in with the new’ best summed up the two performances over the New Year.
Thankfully 2011 is behind us as it’s been a disastrous year for the club, winning only eight league games in the year, and the performance at Watford on New Year’s Eve must go down as one of the worst.
The team gave up too much space in midfield and let the Hornets put four past us, with only a solitary goal from Billy Sharp to show.
Could it turn out to be be his last goal in a Rovers shirt now the transfer window has opened?
We were not helped by Herold Goulan getting sent-off for a second yellow card.
Despite the early kick-off, we had a good following at Vicarage Road, but I felt no more than a couple of players showing their appreciation and applauding the fans at the end of the game was a poor show.
It was not media manager Steve Uttley’s day - he put his back out whilst taking the match photos in the first half. He asked me to video Rovers’ fans wishing everyone a Happy New Year as the team came into the game, to go on Rovers Player.
But I pushed the wrong button every time so I got great shots and audio of my feet so there is nothing for Steven Spielberg to worry about.
What a difference 48 hours made, though,
Dean Saunders made wholesale changes for Monday’s visit of Barnsley, bringing back a team made up mainly of players who started the campaign with us, - players who have an affinity with the club. The changes worked, as many of the players who had not shown their true potential thus far, put in the best performance this season, as passion, self belief, a team spirit and a desire to win took over.
We took the game to Barnsley, who we owed one for our poor showing at Oakwell in the 2-0 defeat in November, and we reversed that scoreline through James Hayter and a cracking strike by Kyle Bennett.
The question is: ‘Can we play like that for the rest of the season?’
Dean has confirmed that El Hadji Diouf had agreed, but not signed, an extension to his contract yet, and asked us to make our own opinion as to why not.
Tomorrow is another cup tie with Notts County, with who we have shared a couple of close encounters in the Carling Cup in the past few seasons. The Magpies have two ex-Doncaster players, John Spicer and Stuart Nelson, in their squad.
Will Dean play some fringe players or keep an unchanged team?
With tickets priced at £10 (adults) and £1 (under 16’s), there should be a good crowd, with the Magpies already selling 1,400 tickets.
The club and the stadium have also agreed to put on cheaper refreshments with a pie and a pint at £5, and beer down to £2.30 and £2.50 in the Lakeside bar.
Supporters Club home match coach for tomorrow: Retford 1pm, Harworth Pit gates (1.20) and Rossington-Styrupp and Labour Club (1.30). No need to book.
Weekend trip to Bournemouth, March 23-25: For Southampton game on 24th.
Bowling night: v Rovers’ players and staff on March 14. Ring me on 07961 727769 for details.