Doncaster Rovers: Dickov fights Sharp’s corner over form

Billy Sharp has found the net once since his Rovers return.
Billy Sharp has found the net once since his Rovers return.
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Billy Sharp had the backing of Paul Dickov following his red card at Brighton – in more ways than one.

The Rovers boss was far from pleased to see the striker send off at the Amex and immediately began formulating a plan to appeal.

Dickov also leapt to Sharp’s defence when questioned over his performances since returning to Rovers.

The 27-year-old has yet to look close to his best following his loan switch from Southampton while the partnership with Chris Brown is yet to blossom.

But Dickov insists bedding in time for Sharp was always required and defended his contribution so far.

“Billy has not played a lot of football this year,” Dickov said. “We knew it would take him a few games to get into it when he came back in.

“Though it’s being said that he’s not done as much as we expected he got us a valuable point at Blackpool and won the penalty that put us two up against Charlton.

“He could have had one or two against Brighton.

“The positive thing is he’s getting games under his belt.”

Sharp’s somewhat disappointing form was emphasised with two poor misses in the defeat at Brighton.

Although he did not believe Sharp should have been sent off, Dickov conceded the striker’s frustration over the misses could have played a part in his aggressive tussle with Gordon Greer.

He said: “Billy was a bit frustrated with missing his chances today and I think possibly that was a factor in him reacting a little bit.”

On Sharp’s partnership with Brown, Dickov says the two need time to gel and he insists he will keep faith with any of his players if they continue to work hard.

“Any partnership will take some time to come together,” he said. “It could be a centre half pairing, a full back and a winger, the central two in midfield or your front two – it doesn’t always happen straight away.

“The one thing I will do with all my players if they give me the effort, work rate and desire they have done over the last month or so I will keep playing them.”

Rovers officials were last night continuing to contemplate an appeal over Sharp’s dismissal.

West Ham’s failure to successfully appeal Andy Carroll’s sending off against Swansea plus retrospective punishment for Craig Bellamy after Saturday’s South Wales derby could dissuade Rovers from mounting an appeal.