DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders has the luxury of a full week, weather permitting, to prepare his charges for Saturday’s visit of Coventry.
Rovers have had a run of Saturday-Tuesday games and there were signs during Saturday’s 1-1 League One draw against Swindon at the County Ground that the fixture glut, and the recent virus in the camp, could be taking its toll on several players.
“It looked like that at times during the game because we weren’t getting to the ball first early on and it was a good job that we scored straight after they scored,” Saunders told The Star.
“Sometimes you’d like to keep going but I will have more time to work with the players than if we had a game tomorrow.”
Saunders had predicted it would be a tough game against the Robins and he admitted it was the hardest Rovers have had to work for a point all season.
“Fair play to Swindon; they’ve got some good players,” he said. “They put lots and lots of balls in our box but our defenders were outstanding heading it away.
“The bar also got us out of trouble and the goalkeeper played well. That’s probably the most he’s had to do this season.
“He’s doing well and the fans were singing his name and that’s the first time that’s happened for a while and that’s a good sign.”
He added: “It would have been nice to win, but we are still joint top of the league. We’ve come away with a point and Swindon are going to be in the top six at the end of the season and we are still seven points clear of them. We had a chance to make it ten but the main thing was they didn’t beat us.”
Kyle Bennett returned to the side after being out for six weeks with a knee ligament injury, but Saunders admitted that he would have preferred to have given him more time to get back to full fitness.
“He got in behind their back-four twice in the first five minutes but I thought he struggled to be honest, as did one or two others,” he said.
“Because Martin Woods was out I had to play Kyle today and he’s not ready to play because we had no-one else who could play on the left.
“It was either that or change the shape of the team, which I didn’t want to do.”
Saunders revealed that former Swindon favourite Billy Paynter would have started but for a family bereavement on Thursday.
“It was a blow losing Billy today because I thought he might have made a difference playing against his old club,” he said.