Big Match Verdict: Home sickness cure is vital for survival

Darius Henderson
Darius Henderson

Paul Dickov conceded this week that his team have continued where they left off last season - they’re playing better football away from the Keepmoat Stadium.

Results might not have gone their way this week, but Rovers’ record over the last 12 months makes very interesting reading.

Take the impressive Blackburn win out of the equation, and Rovers have lost three of their other four games at home this season and squeezed past Rochdale in the Capital One Cup.

By the same token, Rovers have lost just five times in their last 26 league games away from Doncaster.

So, starting with the difficult visit of Nottingham Forest this weekend, how does Dickov halt a losing ratio at home of almost 40 per cent since the start of last season.

How does he turn Rovers’ productivity on their travels into points in their own back yard?

n Score the first goal.

In each of Rovers’ three home defeats this term they have conceded the first goal and unsuccessfully chased the game, leaving further gaps for the opposition to exploit.

In each of Rovers’ wins they’ve scored the first goal.

Against Blackburn, this sparked one of the most confident and competent displays of recent seasons.

n Play like the away team.

‘Let’s get at ‘em from the off’ you’ll hear from fans.

But Doncaster proved time and time again last season that they are capable of sitting deep and then picking teams off on the counter.

Unlike under Brian Flynn, Dickov instructs his team to start on the front foot and gain control.

But going gung ho early on could be detrimental - and that early consumption of energy could explain why four of the eight league goals conceded have come past the 87-minute mark.

A measured approach, weighing up the opposition’s strength and weaknesses, might bear fruit.

n Make some noise!

Rovers’ away following can be partisan and noisy - so is the atmosphere at the Keepmoat partly to blame?