LIKE most of his team-mates, Doncaster Rovers defender Tommy Spurr will be taking on Shewsbury Town for the first time in tomorrow’s League One clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The clubs were two divisions apart this time last year with Rovers plying their trade in the Championship and Town in League Two.
But the Leeds-born defender harbours no feelings of superiority over the teams from lower levels.
“We came down from the Championship and they were promoted from League Two and we are playing at the same level now and we have to treat them with respect as we have to do all the teams in League One,” he said.
“But at the same time we know that if we play to our potential and how we know we can play, we can get a result against anybody in this league.”
Unlike recent seasons when Spurr will have had a good idea about the club’s opponents, that’s not going to be the case in most games - and that includes tomorrow.
“It’s not really a problem,” said the former Sheffield Wednesday defender, who cost Rovers a reputed £200,000.
“We might not know as much about some of the players, but we know that every game is going to be a tough game.
“Really, we’ve just got to concentrate on what we do and not worry unduly about who we are playing. If we hit form on the day we are going to get a result.”
Spurr is happy with Rovers’ form on the road this season having helped them pick up wins at Walsall, Colchester and Leyton Orient and draw at Sheffield United.
Only Yeovil, top of the table at the time, have beaten the travelling Rovers this season and their haul of 10 points from five games is promotion form.
Had Rovers’ form at the Keepmoat Stadium being anywhere near as impressive, then they would challenging the likes of Tranmere and Stevenage at the top of the table.
Sadly, as far as everyone connected with the club, that has not been the case so far and Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat against Preston North End - their second reversal at home this season - means that they have picked up just four points from four games.
It is a brighter picture if you take into account the two Capital One Cup games, but at League One level it is a worry.
“Most of the teams who have come here this season have just tried to stop us playing and not looked to play any football,” said Spurr.
“Crawley scored really late on after trying to stop us playing, and Stevenage were similar after they scored an early goal. They sat right back and pitched their tent outside their 18 yard box and we’ve probably got to counter-act such tactics better.
“I’m sure that teams coming here will look at the some of the results that teams have achieved by playing a certain way and try and copy their tactics, but that would all change were we to put three or four goals past a team playing like that and we’ve got the players here capable of doing that,” said Spurr.
The defender says the side haven’t been hit as badly by the departure of key players as people possibly feared.
“The lads who have come in are all really good lads and everyone gets on,” he said. “There is a good team spirit and I think that shows when we are playing - every time someone scores or does something well, everyone encourages them.
“The club has had a reputation for making new players welcome and for people to get on - and that isn’t always the case. People don’t really have to get on but it’s a bonus if you do and, as I say, there is a good atmosphere at the club.”
Being a defender, Spurr is particularly pleased with how the back-four and keeper Gary Woods have gelled as a unit and looked solid prior to the 3-1 midweek defeat at home to Preston North End.
“It’s not just been the defensive unit, I think we have defended well as a team,” he said. “It’s still a new team and I think we’ll get better the more games we play together as a team.”
Teams and ref
ROVERS (possible): G Woods, Quinn, Martis, Spurr/McCombe, Spurr/Husband, Cotterill, Syers, Harper, Bennett, Hume/Paynter, Brown.
Shrews (possible): Weale, Grandison, Summerfield, Jones, Wright, Richards, Morgan, Collins, Parrry, Cornell, Wildig.
Richard clark (Northumberland): In his first season as a League referee and this will be his first League One match. Handed out four yellow cards and a red in his last match - a League Two clash between Fleetwood and Barnet.