Rovers seek away gains


THE pressure is mounting on Doncaster Rovers to cure their travel sickness as they bid to retain their Championship status.

Currently in 23rd position and three points adrift of safety, Dean Saunders battlers have picked up just two victories on the road this year. Only basement club Coventry City have accrued fewer points on their travels.

As the battle for survival enters a critical phase, four of Rovers next six fixtures are away from the Keepmoat Stadium, starting with a trip to fellow strugglers Bristol City on Saturday.

After a 10-day break, Rovers will head to play-off chasing Hull City and they also have away clashes at Crystal Palace and Leeds United before the end of February.

Sandwiched in between those away games are two home dates with Reading and Blackpool.

Since defeating Ipswich Town in mid-November, Saunders have been beaten five times on the trot away from home, losing to Barnsley, Millwall, Birmingham City, Burnley and Watford.

It is a woeful record which needs to be urgently addressed if Rovers are to get out of the precarious situation they find themselves in.

At the root of Rovers problems has been their inability to stop leaking goals. Saunders, who also steered the club to a come-from-behind win at Peterborough United, has improved the side defensively and helped them tighten up at the back, particularly at home, but on the road they have shipped in more goals than any other team in the division and failed to keep a clean sheet away from home all season.

Former Welsh international Saunders is expected to name Damien Plessis again on the bench at Ashton Gate and has warned fans not to expect too much straight away from their new midfield recruit.

Saunders believes it will take the 23-year-old, who has recently received international clearance on his protracted loan move from Panathinaikos, time to adapt to the rigours of the second tier of English football.

“It’s different in England, there’s more body contact, more physically demanding and the defenders are not as technical as in France,” said Saunders. “It will take him [Damien] a bit of time just, we’ve just got to keep working in training.