DONCASTER Rovers boss Saunders will be hoping that history repeats itself as he prepares his side for tomorrow’s Capital Cup Cup third round tie against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Saunders steered Rovers to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in his first game in charge 12 months ago to the day yesterday, and is looking to kick-off his second year at the helm with victory over the Canaries.
Saunders gave a run out to a number of players who haven’t started recently in a behind-closed-doors practice match at Cantley Park yesterday in preparation for the club’s two games in four days this week.
Saunders’ 12 months in charge has seen massive changes both on and off the field and despite the fact that Rovers are now plying their trade in League One he maintains the club is in a better position to move forward.
“I knew that there was a big job to be done when I first came here,” he said. “The club were favourites to be relegated before a ball was kicked and they were odds-on when I took over being bottom with only one point from seven games and not having won a game since March.
“We went down a particular route to try and keep the club in the league but I knew that if it didn’t work out, and we didn’t stay in the Championship, that I was going to do what I have had to do in the summer.
“I took the job on those terms and I got my head down and got stuck into it and we’ll get it right. We are heading in the right direction and everybody who takes a wage from the club is now working hard and that wasn’t the case when I first arrived. There were too many people who were complacent after having had the same manager for five years.
“It’s the same in any walk of life in that situation. You sometimes don’t even know that you are cutting corners; you just think what you are doing is acceptable because you are not getting any criticism. All of a sudden a new boss comes in and says: ‘you aren’t doing this right and you’re not doing that right’.
“I gave people the chance to work with me and work the way that I wanted them to do and if they didn’t then they had to leave.
“I’ve had to rebuild the club and in addition to cutting the playing budget, I’ve also got rid of people behind the scenes.
“Everybody at the club knows their job, know what I expect of them, and they are all working their socks off.”