Paul Goodwin’s big match verdict: Mindset over matter for first ever Fleetwood trip

James Coppinger is among the senior pros to have recently talked up the players' promotion ambitions.
James Coppinger is among the senior pros to have recently talked up the players' promotion ambitions.

With the greatest respect to Fleetwood Town, I’m not sure Saturday’s return to action comes into the ‘big-game’ category.

Granted, this will be the first ever time these teams have met.

And Fleetwood’s sensational six promotions in ten years mirrors Rovers’ similarly remarkable rise up the Football League.

But you’d still be hard pressed to find any Rovers fans licking their lips at the prospect of a trip to the Highbury Stadium to face the Cod Army. It’s not a fixture that leaps out at you.

And that’s slightly worrying from a Doncaster point of view, as Paul Dickov’s men look to build on the momentum they gathered prior to the international break.

Because, so far this season, Rovers have lived up to their ever-growing reputation for saving their best performances for the bigger occasions.

They turned it on at Yeovil on the opening day of the season.

Their best display at home, thus far, has come against a Preston team expected to figure in the promotion shake-up.

They impressed in the Capital One Cup against Championship opposition.

And they maintained their impressive record in derby matches under Dickov by beating Chesterfield and then Scunthorpe with a certain degree of swagger and style.

The exception to the rule came at league leaders Bristol City, where Rovers were second best even before Harry Forrester saw red.

It is very apparent that James Coppinger, Jamie McCombe and Richie Wellens - some of the most senior pros in the Rovers dressing room - have all been quoted recently as saying top six is a realistic target for Doncaster, despite Dickov and the club’s attempts to downplay expectations.

There is a belief among Rovers’ squad that, on their day, they can beat anyone in this division.

But to finish anywhere near the top six Rovers can’t afford just to turn it on when it suits.

The defeats against Port Vale, Oldham and Walsall have highlighted that Doncaster are far from invincible. They are prone to an off day.

And if complacency is the reason for those dips, it needs to be stamped out immediately. This weekend is the perfect time to start.