IT didn’t prove a winning return to the Den for Doncaster Rovers defender George Friend in last weekend’s Championship defeat against Millwall.
Friend, who spent time on loan with the Lions last season whilst on Wolves’ books, produced a solid defensive display but blames himself for Rovers’ late 1-0 defeat for failing to cut out James Henry’s byline cross which led to Millwall’s winner.
“He was one of the players who we had highlighted and every time he popped up on the right I was supposed to try and get on to him and I felt that I did that apart from the last cross,” he told The Star. “Like the manager said after the game it’s the little things that count.
“I don’t think that we deserved to win but we deserved something out of the game but, as was shown, you have to keep going right until the end.
“The lads were disappointed to go all that way and not to come back with something so we’ve just had to try and take the positives out of the game.We defended well and it would have been nice to have kept another clean sheet, which we almost did.
“We have been shipping in a few goals this year and to keep a clean sheet against Burnley last week gave us a lot of confidence going to Millwall.
“But we’ve still got things to work on and that’s why it has been useful not to have had a midweek game as it has it given us the chance to do a solid week’s training.”
Friend missed the game at Fratton Park earlier in the season due to injury but hopes to feature in the return against Portsmouth this weekend.
“It’s a big game for us,” said Friend. “It’s the first of two back-to-back home games before we visit Swansea and Norwich, so it is important that we pick up as many points as possible in the games against Portsmouth and Ipswich.
“We’ve lost ground because of our recent results, but it only needs a little bit of a run and we could be back in contention for the play-offs.
“But at the same time if we continue to suffer defeats like we have been doing then we could be down there.
“So you have got to think positive - though we can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves. We just have to take it one game at a time.”
Striker James Hayter will miss Saturday’s game but tests have shown that the injury picked up in the Burnley game is not as serious as first feared and he is expected to be back in two or three weeks.