DONCASTER Rovers trained on the Keepmoat Stadium pitch ahead of a league game for the first time this season this morning.
Rovers’ request was originally rejected by the Stadium Management Committee (SMC) on Tuesday. but permission was eventually granted following an angry public outburst by Rovers.
“It is not our ground so we just can’t lord it over other people,” said Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll, who was not involved in the war of words.
“We don’t do it week in, week out. We’ve only done it on occasions when we felt it would be beneficial.
“It’s nice to be able to put people on situ because they’ve got one or two things up their sleeve that we need to re-create and if you can do that in the environment in which you will be playing (the following day) it is obviously going to be better.
“If it was our ground and our pitch then we’d probably do it every time we played at home. But it isn’t so we ask sparingly.”
Tomorrow’s game against third-placed Cardiff is the first of crucial back-to-back home games in the next five days and O’Driscoll is keen to capitalise on home advantage.
Said the Rovers’ boss: “Your home form, or the ability to pick up points at home, is probably the key to success in this division - whether that means staying in the division, getting into the play-offs or getting promoted.
“Both games (against Cardiff and Preston) will be just as difficult for different reasons.”
Rovers will have both defenders Wayne Thomas and James O’Connor available again after being sidelined with injuries. Thomas resumed full training last week with O’Connor reporting back on Monday following a broken foot.
“Jimmy has had no (adverse) reaction to his metatarsal injury, so that’s good news,” said O’Driscoll.
“He lacks a little match practice. but fitness-wise he’s got no problems. He’s probably the fittest player at the football club.”
Rovers are hoping that skipper Brian Stock shows no adverse reaction to training today.
“Brian has got an ankle problem that will need sorting out in the summer,” said O’Driscoll. “He’s trained all week apart from Monday, but it is hit and miss with him. He could wake up today and it be a problem.”
O’Driscoll said that he is expecting tomorrow’s game to be ‘like a cup tie.’
“They will be desperate not to have to go through the rigours of the play-offs again and they’ll be looking to win the game as we will but for different reasons,” he said.
“We’ve felt that we’ve competed well in the last two games. If we can maintain that performance level then hopefully we can get a result.”