DONCASTER ROVERS: We can still stay up: says boss Dean Saunders

Thriving on battle: 'Being under pressure keeps you alive and is part of football', says Dean Saunders.     Picture: CHRIS ISON/PA WIRE
Thriving on battle: 'Being under pressure keeps you alive and is part of football', says Dean Saunders. Picture: CHRIS ISON/PA WIRE

BOSS Dean Saunders is thriving on the pressure of trying to save Doncaster Rovers from the drop.

Time is running out for the Keepmoat club, who are bottom of the standings in the Championship, to climb to safety.

Rovers travel to Leicester City tomorrow and host Burnley on Easter Monday looking to halt a seven-match winless run.

Saunders, who has Shelton Martis, Pascal Chimbonda, Paul Keegan and Brian Stock vying for first-team recalls, is targeting a minimum of three points from the holiday period to resurrect their survival hopes.

However, the odds are stacked against Rovers of pulling off the great escape, having claimed just two victories since the turn of the year.

Saunders said: “This is a massive weekend and we have got to get two results.

“I knew it would come down to this and it is only us who can get ourselves out of this [situation]. Nobody else can help us.

“I quite enjoy being under pressure. There is nothing worse than just floating half way up the league. I know we would all take that but being under pressure keeps you alive and is part of being in football.”

He added: “I don’t think the other teams are going to do us any favours. We have got to get ourselves out of it. We can still do it.”

Piquionne and Herita Ilunga’s deals run out after the Burnley encounter and Saunders has confirmed he is in talks with the duo’s representatives over extending their stays at the Keepmoat Stadium until the end of the season.

Saunders, meanwhile, says Rovers are still conducting an internal investigation into reports El Hadji Diouf allegedly broke a club curfew and was in a nightclub just hours before the team’s clash at table-topping Southampton last month.

Photographs of the controversial Senegalese international were apparently posted on Facebook last week showing the 31-year-old partying at Bournemouth’s Prive nightclub.

“I am still in the middle of the investigation,” said Saunders. “I have already asked the lad and he said he wasn’t there and they had conjured up the photograph of him.

“I have made some more inquiries into it and I’m just waiting for some more answers back.

“I just can’t comprehend what has been said and that type of thing happening.

“I would never dream of doing that and I don’t expect any of my players to be doing that and I can assure everybody that if I get to the bottom of it and we find out he was there he will be fined the maximum I can fine him.”

Rovers have declined to comment further on the matter.