DEAN Saunders, the Doncaster Rovers manager, insists he has no regrets over taking charge of the relegation-haunted club.
The first rumblings of ‘Saunders Out’ were heard during Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Millwall in midweek, leaving Rovers without a win in four Championship outings.
The South Yorkshire outfit lock horns with table-topping Southampton this afternoon four points adrift of safety with just nine matches remaining.
Despite increasing pressure from unhappy supporters to arrest the slide, Saunders, who replaced Sean O’Driscoll at the helm last September, is adamant the 23rd-placed can climb out of trouble.
Saunders told The Star: “I knew it was going to be a difficult job. Of course, I would rather be fighting at the other end of the table.
“But I knew what I was coming into and it [survival] will probably come down to the last three games.
“If we can raise our game and play like we did against West Ham and Reading, we have a chance.”
The Rovers chief will reshuffle his pack at the St Mary’s Stadium and is likely to make a minimum of two changes to his back four.
Pascal Chimbonda, who missed the clash with Millwall because his partner was not well, is poised to replace James O’Connor at right-back.
With Tommy Spurr out for the rest of the season after having an operation on his broken hand, Saunders has to choose between Herita Ilunga and George Friend at left-back. Friend has just returned to training after recovering from knee ligament damage and Ilunga has yet to feature since re-joining the club from West Ham.
Shelton Martis remains a major doubt due to a long-standing groin complaint as well as hamstring and calf problems as Rovers eye up their first double of the 2011/12 campaign.
“It has not helped that we have had disruption in the back four,” conceded Saunders. “We lost Shelton and he is a big, powerful, strong lad. We have been littered with problems at the back but we have to get on with it.”
Pacy winger Kyle Bennett faces a late fitness test on his toe, which he has had six injections in whilst Habib Bamogo is still sidelined with a hamstring niggle.