Jones: we are a group of winners

Doncaster Rovers' captain Rob Jones (right) consoles teammate Tommy Spurr.
Doncaster Rovers' captain Rob Jones (right) consoles teammate Tommy Spurr.
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Rob Jones insists he has never been part of a squad more determined to succeed.

Such a statement will be music to the ears of anyone affiliated with Doncaster Rovers on one of the most pivotal weeks in the club’s history.

Jones’ focus is firmly on Saturday’s clash with Brentford – a game that will ultimately define Rovers’ season.

Avoid defeat and Doncaster will confirm their place in the Championship next season. Lose and they will be consigned to the play-offs and the clichéd lottery that brings.

This game has been billed as a winner-takes-all £6m contest.

Rovers’ talismanic skipper prefers to look upon it as a simple 90 minutes of football.

“It’s the biggest game of the season, it’s as simple as that,” Jones said.

“It’s been written in the stars to come down to the last game of the season.

“But the focus is firmly on one 90 minute game of football – one that we can go out and enjoy. Everything else that has come before doesn’t matter and neither does anything that will follow.

“If we win we’re promoted, it’s as simple as that.

“We can draw but that just isn’t going to be in the mindset. We’re going into a football match to win it, no matter what is at stake.

“We can’t go there looking for a draw. We have to give Brentford the respect they deserve.

“But we go into the game with an open mind because as we’ve seen over many seasons, anything can happen in these final seasons.

“Our focus is on winning football matches.”

Jones was keen to play down any concerns from last weekend’s defeat to Notts County which ensured Rovers’ fate would be decided in the final game.

He insists there was plenty of positives to take from the performance.

“We go into every game with resolve and last weekend was no different,” Jones said. “We lost but when we conceded we knocked on the door for the rest of the game. It just wouldn’t go in for us.

“I think there has only been one performance we could be majorly disappointed with this season and that was the defeat to Coventry just before Christmas.

“Other than that, we have never showed any signs of giving up.”

Jones was unsurprisingly named Rovers’ player of the year at the Star and Green Un Football Awards earlier this week after a superb contribution both on and off the field.

But he has been keen to play down talk of his role being anything other than a cog in a machine.

He said: “We are where we are because of the workrate, desire and determination of individuals.

“But the success we have had is because those individuals have worked very well as part of a team and a squad.

“The perfect summation of that is the drive of the players to return to fitness for this game, lads like Paul Keegan, David Syers and Martin Woods whose seasons probably should have been over.

“There is not a bad individual among them – and not many football clubs can say that. We are a very good group and it shows when we’re out on the pitch.”

Much has been made of Jones’ motivational role this season, both as skipper and coach.

But he says his task for this weekend’s game is simply keeping his teammates relaxed.

“No one needs motivation for this game and that has been the case with every game this season,” Jones said.

“No one has given anything but everything all season. That is why we are where we are.

“I’m sure there are a few nerves but I’m trying to keep them as relaxed as possible.

“I’ve never been in a dressing room as determined to do well. I think we’ve done a very good job in a very short space of time.

“It will just cap it all off with a result at the weekend.”