Rovers rue loss of Royals game

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DONCASTER Rovers were left counting the cost of Saturday’s postponed Championship game against Reading at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The club, who had been confident of the game going ahead after laying down protective sheeting and using warm-air blowers, had been expecting an above-average gate.

Both Supporters’ Club chairman Len South and Viking Supporters Co-operative chairman Gareth Thomas had publicly appealed to fans to turn out in their numbers to not only get behind Dean Saunders’ side, but also to show their support for chairman John Ryan - the only one of the club’s major shareholders still in place.

Despite pumping millions of his own money into the club, which he has supported since a boy, Ryan has been coming under fire from fans’ websites in recent months.

Rovers had also secured funding from local and regional firms to enable a number of Doncaster Boys’ League players and their families to attend the game for free in a bid to help generate long-term interest in the club.

The club were also looking to close the gap on the sides just above the relegation zone and although they remain five points adrift of fourth-bottom Millwall after their derby defeat at West Ham United they now have a game in hand over the Lions.

Other results went their way with such as Coventry and Bristol City also losing.

But Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders, who wasn’t there when referee Tony Bates made the decision at 10.30am to call the game off because he felt several areas in the South Stand goalmouth were dangerous, remained unhappy at the postponement.

“I’m disappointed it was called off; I don’t like having games in hand,” he told The Star. “I prefer to have points on the board.

“We were ready for the game; we’d done all the training and preparation and the players had been looking forward to it.”

The club had also used plastic sheeting to protect the pitches at their training ground and had been able to train as normal all week.

Had the game gone ahead, the bulk of the Rovers’ fans could have got their first look at attacking midfielder Habib Bamogo.

Bamogo, who arrived at the club late last year, made his Rovers’ debut in the midweek 0-0 draw against Hull City at the KC Stadium.

That match also saw midfielder Martin Woods, dogged by groin problems, start his first game for 15 months

Had the former Scottish Under-21 retained his place it would have been his first appearance at the Keepmoat Stadium for over a year.