DONCASTER Rovers, who re-signed defender Herita Ilunga on a short-term contract yesterday, could find themselves out of the Championship relegation zone by 5pm tonight if they win and other results go their way.
That is the massive incentive ahead of today’s clash at West Ham United.
“They are second and are obviously a strong side and at the end of the day they are all but a Premier League side in name, but we’ll be going there confident that we can pick up three points,” said Rovers defender Sam Hird.
“Our last three results have been good, and it was good to get a win at (Nottingham) Forest in midweek, and that result has increased the belief that we can get the three points.
“Forest have got a lot of good individual players but for me they didn’t play as a team, whereas we did and that’s something we’ve got to do again today.
“As I say we’ll be going into the game in a confident mood because it’s got to the point in the season where we need results and if we are not going into games feeling confident then we’ve got no chance.
“I’d certainly rather play both West Ham and Reading now than at the end of the season because I’ve got a feeling there are going to be five or six teams battling to stay up and it’s going to go down to the last few games and I wouldn’t want to be in a position where we needed to beat teams such as West Ham and Reading to stay up.”
Although Hird says the target is six points from the next two games, he admits that two draws wouldn’t be seen as a disaster.
“The main thing is to try and remain unbeaten, whatever the result, and maintain the momentum that we have built up,” he said.
Hird, who did a good job when coming off the bench at the City Ground after left-back Tommy Spurr had picked up a groin injury just after the break, hopes to start at least one of the games.
“Left-back isn’t my natural position, and I didn’t feel particularly comfortable, but hopefully I did a good job as I will try and do wherever I’m asked to play in the team,” said the centre-back who has started the last couple of games on the bench.
Ilunga, meanwhile, has rejoined Rovers on an initial one-month contract.
The 30-year-old left-back, who can also operate in central midfield, made 15 appearances for Rovers from October 2011 to January 2012.
Having left West Ham by mutual consent, Ilunga, who has been handed the number 31 shirt, is in contention to face his old club this afternoon, filling in at full-back for Spurr.