Paul Goodwin: Now’s the time for Doncaster Rovers to really push on

Liam Mandeville celebrates scoring one of two penalties against Leyton Orient.

Liam Mandeville celebrates scoring one of two penalties against Leyton Orient.

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Whisper it quietly but Doncaster Rovers had the look of genuine promotion material last time out against Leyton Orient.

As they go in search of a fourth straight league win at Stevenage tomorrow, one that would take them to the top of League Two, Darren Ferguson’s side appear to have hit form at a rather good time.

And looking at what’s in store over the next two months for Rovers, now really is the perfect time for them to put their foot down in the race for promotion.

Aside from reaching the summit, which Ferguson has admitted is a side issue, victory at the Lamex Stadium would set Doncaster up beautifully for a trip to fellow high-flyers Plymouth Argyle the following weekend and the festive delights to follow.

Momentum is building - and what Rovers do not need tomorrow is to end up taking one step forward and two back. They simply cannot afford another Blackpool or Luton moment.

Rovers were a pleasure to watch last weekend as they brushed aside Orient with a patient yet progressive style of football.

The visitors offered very little threat and Ferguson’s men ought really to have won by a bigger margin.

But it was the way Rovers went about their business which suggested that this team, which possesses a nice blend of experience and youth, is starting to hit its peak.

At 1-0 down previous Rovers teams might have panicked or pushed the self-destruct button, leaving themselves open to the counter.

But the belief of the players, and also the fans, that sticking to their passing and pressing principles would eventually bear fruit was palpable within the Keepmoat Stadium - and sure enough Rovers got their richly-deserved three points in the end. It never really looked in any doubt.

Confidence is such a precious commodity in football and this Doncaster team currently has it in abundance.

But making sure that does turn into over-confidence, or arrogance, will be key this weekend against a Stevenage side capable of upsetting anyone on their day, as will maintaining a newfound defensive stability that has seen Rovers go four matches without conceding a goal from open play.

The return of Andy Williams provides further fuel to the argument that things are just coming together nicely at a good time for Rovers. It’s important not to spoil that at Stevenage.

And then bring on Plymouth Argyle and Grimsby Town!

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