George accepts festive sacrifice

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DONCASTER Rovers stars, like other pro footballers, have had to make sacrifices over the festive period but defender George Friend says it will be all worthwhile were they to pick up a result at Watford tomorrow.

“You do miss out on things over the festive period because you’ve got to remain focused on the games but I’ve experienced it before and you get used to it,” said the defender. “It would have been nice to be going to Watford on the back of a good result at Burnley on Boxing Day, but Turf Moor is a tough place to go. But we’ve beaten teams like Southampton and Leicester and were unlucky not to get something at Birmingham. We are starting to look solid, especially at home where we’ve picked up seven points from our last three games.

“Watford are on a good run and we expect another tough game. We drew with them recently and the game is still fresh in the mind. We kept a clean sheet, which was a positive because we hadn’t done so since early in the season and I thought we did enough to pick up all three points.

“A win at Watford would be a great way to end the year for the club and a great way to start 2012 - particularly if it meant that we climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time in a number of weeks” said Friend.

“But even if we do go into the New Year in the bottom three I’m confident we will get out of it. We’ve got half a season left and if we play like we did against such as Southampton and Leicester then there’s no reason to doubt that we’ll end the season away from the relegation zone. On current form we aren’t a bottom-three side.

“I don’t think we played all that badly in the first seven games when we only picked up a point, but we are definitely playing better now and we have shown that we can not only score goals but that we can also hang on to leads.”

It has been a roller-coaster season to date for Friend, who took over the captaincy before being injured and losing his place in the starting line-up.

“I’m disappointed not to be starting and trying my hardest to get back in and when I do I’ve got to be ready and make the most of it,” he said.

“But I’ve got no complaints about being on the bench because Sam Hird is playing well.

“I’m pleased for him because he’s a good lad who always gives his best in training every day.”

Friend says he is desperate for Rovers to put the record straight in Monday’s home game against Barnsley. “As a team we didn’t play well in the 2-0 defeat at Oakwell and we’re keen to show we’re a better team than we looked that day when we let both ourselves and the fans down.”