Doncaster Rovers: Dickov ‘hurt’ by defeat at Walsall

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Paul Dickov slammed Rovers’ woeful Walsall display, saying he was ‘embarrassed and hurt’ by his side’s poor performance.

Barring a decent spell of possession towards the end of the first half, Doncaster were never really in the race as the Saddlers rallied to a 3-0 triumph on home soil.

Former Rovers midfielder James Baxendale struck a killer blow against his hometown team, as his rasping effort fired into the top corner in first half injury time.

That goal proved hard to swallow for Dickov who blasted his side’s effort in the run-up to Walsall’s opener calling it ‘schoolboy stuff’.

“In the 46th minute, to give away a stupid free-kick where we did, it’s all about being professional in everything you do,” he said.

“The players know exactly how I feel. If I can change things around I will because that wasn’t good enough.”

The Scotsman went on: “I’m a little bit embarrassed by the performance, I’d like to apologise to the fans who follow us everywhere because they were fantastic.”

Second half strikes from the impressive Tom Bradshaw and Anthony Forde nailed Rovers’ coffin firmly shut as they limped out of Banks’s Stadium with their second away defeat in League One this season.

Dickov was also quick to snub suggestions that his side were running on empties ahead of the Walsall clash following their two valiant performances which saw them clinch three domestic points against Chesterfield last Saturday before suffering a narrow defeat to Fulham in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup encounter.

“There’s no excuse for not running harder than the other team, for not working harder than the other team, to sprint, run, kick, tackle - that should be a given. On all of those things, Walsall were better than us and that’s what disappoints me the most,” Dickov said.

“We pride ourselves on our work ethic as a team, our togetherness as a team and I didn’t see any of that against Walsall, that’s the thing that angers me, hurts me and disappoints me the most.”

Goalkeeper Jed Steer is to be assessed early this week after being substituted on the half hour following a blow to his hip in an aerial challenge.