Rovers target home double

New deal: Sean Scannell
New deal: Sean Scannell
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LIKE the rest of his team-mates, Doncaster Rovers’ midfielder Simon Gillett is keen to avoid an unwanted club record over the next few days.

Failure to beat Crystal Palace tomorrow would equal the club record of 20 games without a win set in the ill-fated 1997-98 season which ended with Rovers being relegated to the Conference.

That would then leave Rovers needing to beat Hull City on Tuesday to avoid setting a new record.

Fortunately for Rovers, both games are at home where they convincingly beat Tranmere in the Carling Cup and picked up their only league point to date following a 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers.

Gillett argues that Rovers should not be in the position of still looking to claim their first league win seven games into the season.

“It’s been difficult but we’ve been in games that we could have won, particularly at home to (Nottingham) Forest,” he said. “We had chances to win that game and I was a bit disappointed to come away from that not having the three points.

“We were unlucky to lose to an injury-time winner whilst down to 10 men in our first game at Brighton, so we could have had more points but ultimately we don’t so perhaps people can say we deserve what we’ve got.

“We’ve got back-to-back home games and we’ve got to be looking to try and win them both and kick-start our season. But I look at every game and think it is winable and that was the case going into the Reading game last weekend.

“Obviously we’d have been happy with a point on the day but we went there looking to win. What we didn’t want to do was to lose, which we did.

“When we do get our first win there will obviously be a feeling of great relief and it will give us something to build on and hopefully it will spur everyone on.

“But one win won’t change everything overnight and when it comes we’ll have to continue to need to work hard; it’s an ongoing process.

“Were we to pick up two wins against Palace and Hull, that would be brilliant.

“Although we are currently bottom a couple of wins would make a big difference because apart from the leading group it’s pretty tight with everybody taking points off everybody else.

“Obviously it’s been a disappointing start but the one thing that we can perhaps take consolation from is the fact that nobody has dominated us for the 90 minutes; we’ve been in games.

“That’s is what is making our current situation so frustrating. We feel we’ve done enough to take something out of games and then silly mistakes have cost us and that’s something that we need to cut out of our game.

“That often happens when you are struggling but we can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves; it’s not a sob story. We’ve got to stick together and it’s massively important that we do that because we haven’t got the budgets of most other clubs in the Championship.

“Fortunately there is still a good team spirit in the camp and the fact that we have started to get players back is obviously a boost for squad. We can start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

“They are our mates it’s good to see them back and getting nearer to us having a fully fit squad for the first time this year.”

Teams and refs

ROVERS (possible): Sullivan, Dumbuya, Martis, Friend, O’Connor, Coppinger, Gillett, Oster, Bennett, Hayter, Parkin (4-4-2)

CRYSTAL PALACE (possible): Speroni, Ramage, McCarthy, Moxey. Gardner, Zaha, Iverson, Parr, Scannell, Easter(4-4-2).

Chris sarginson (Staffs): Has dished out 12 yellow cards this season but no reds.

One to watch

SEAN Scannell: The 22 year-old has made 108 appearances after coming up through the ranks and scored 12 goals.

The striker, who has been attracting interest from bigger clubs is the Eagles’ joint top-scorer this season with three.

He signed a new four and a half year deal this week much to the delight of manager Dougie Freedman who is keen to retain Palace’s top young players.

History lesson

PALACE have never beaten Rovers since they moved to the Keepmoat Stadium. Two of the three games ending in a draw as happened last season on Good Friday when the 0-0 draw effectively meant that Rovers were all but mathmatically safe from relegation. Prior to the Championship era the two teams had not met in the league since the 1960-61 season, Palace winning both games 5-1.