Sam’s sights on the Lions’ den

Set for new ground: Doncaster-born Sam Hird has never played at the New Den.   Picture: Liz Mockler
Set for new ground: Doncaster-born Sam Hird has never played at the New Den. Picture: Liz Mockler
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CENTRE-back Sam Hird was pleased to be a member of the Doncaster Rovers back-four in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Burnley at the Keepmoat Stadium which saw the home side keep a clean sheet for the first time in a month.

Hird and James O’Connor were both outstanding at the heart of the Rovers’ defence as Sean O’Driscoll’s side ended a run of five games without a win.

The only Doncaster-born player in the Rovers’ squad, Hird is hoping to keep his place in the side to take on Millwall at the New Den tomorrow.

“I’ve never played at the New Den before,” he told The Star.

“But from what I’ve heard it’s a tough place to go and the Millwall crowd really get behind the team.

“I didn’t get on when we beat them 2-1 at home earlier in the season, and to be honest I didn’t know too much about them before we started to prepare for the game this week,” he said.

“Obviously they’ve got a good striker in Steve Morison and they use him quite effectively, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him if he plays.”

Although Millwall, who were unlucky to come away from Carrow Road in midweek empty handed, are in a rich vein of form, Hird says that Rovers are confident of picking up a result in the capital.

“It might sound surprising to some people considering the results that we had had going into the game,” he said.

“But we went into the Burnley game confident that we could beat them and it will be the same tomorrow.

“I’m sure that there must have been some fans who will have thought that we’d be low in confidence.

“But we are a strong bunch and we stick together and we think we can turn things around.

“We are still not in a bad position despite the bad run we had been on prior to Tuesday and we’ve got a couple of games in hand over some of the teams above us and if we can string a couple of wins together we can soon bounce back up the league.”

One of the biggest problems facing Rovers for much of 2011 has been their poor defensive record - not helped by a constant changing of personnel.

“Obviously we’ve had a lot of injuries and that has contributed to the fact that we’ve not had a settled back-four.” said Hird, who joined the club from Leeds United,

“But we’ve also changed things to play a certain way against the team we were playing.

“We know that we’ve got to be better as a defensive unit than we have been in most of our last few games.

“I think that when you are conceding goals as a defensive unit that little things (such as the deflected winner at Ipswich) go against you as well.

“Just as when you are defending well as a team that things sometimes go your way.

“But regardless of those little things, we had defended poorly as a unit for four or five games - particularly against Wolves in the FA Cup replay - prior to beating Burnley. I thought I was poor against Wolves, and was subsequently dropped, but I thought as a defensive unit that we were poor on the night.

“Apart from that game I think that whenever I’ve come into the side I feel that I’ve done well. Primarily I’m a centre-back, but I’m a professional and will play anywhere the manager wants.”