Paul Dickov accepts that Doncaster Rovers will have their good days and bad days in League One this season.
Saturday’s sobering 3-1 home defeat to Port Vale - which saw Vale score three times in 14 first half minutes and Harry Forrester later sent off - brought Rovers crashing back down to earth after wins over Yeovil and York.
Dickov said: “We knew after last week’s game [at Yeovil] we’ve still got a lot of work to do.
“I said it last week - the group’s only been together for a short space of time and it’s going to take time for them to gel.
“We’re going to get days when we look good. There’ll be days when we struggle, and we did in the first half.
“In the second half I thought we were a lot better. We passed the ball better and looked more of a threat, but at 3-0 down it’s too late to do that. If we want to do well this year, we’ve got to be much better than what we were in the first half. We will be in time.”
He added: “The first half was probably as poor as we’ve been since I’ve been here.
“You’ve got to give Port Vale credit. They’re a hard working team and their front two as a partnership are up there with the best in the division.
“But the most disappointing thing is to concede from two corners and a throw in.
“People have designated jobs to do, not just defending the first ball but the second ball too. We switched off and we got punished for it.”
Dickov was unhappy with referee Geoff Eltringham’s decision to send off Forrester for a challenge on Vale goalkeeper Sam Johnson, and also his failure to spot “a definite foul” on Jed Steer in the build-up to the visitors’ third goal.
“It was a definite foul. How it’s not been seen I’ll never know,” said Dickov.
“In our opinion it’s not a sending off,” he added on Forrester’s red card.
“If anything it’s a borderline penalty on Harry. He’s been pushed twice. The second time he’s been pushed, he’s off balance and he’s just making an attempt to get the ball. I’ll have a sit down with the chief exec and decide if we’re going to appeal it.”
* Curtis Main (knee) and Reece Wabara (hamstring) are struggling to be fit to face Preston tomorrow night.