Paul Dickov said he had no regrets about changing a winning team after Doncaster Rovers were dumped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Notts County.
Local lad Billy Whitehouse was one of five new faces in the Rovers team as Dickov opted to shuffle his pack ahead of a busy festive programme.
Liam Noble’s second half winner sent the Magpies through to the area semi-finals after Kyle Bennett saw a goal controversially ruled out for offside.
However, Dickov stood by his changes.
“In the first half we looked lethargic, we lacked the continuity we’ve had recently and I’ll take the blame for that because we made five changes,” he said.
“But I don’t regret making them.
“Some of them were forced.
“Reece [Wabara] and Enda [Stevens] have both had little niggles.
“They’ve both been running on empty recently.
“We wanted to try and look after Richie [Wellens] and Copps too.
“They’ve both been playing with injuries for the last few games.
“Ideally I would’ve kept the same team tonight but the last thing I wanted to do was to lose players for the games we’ve got coming up over Christmas.”
Rovers were left to rue a controversial offside decision moments before Noble’s goal.
Bennett drove home impressively from distance but the lineman’s flag stopped short Doncaster’s celebrations - much to Dickov’s annoyance.
“We’ve had a goal chalked off and I’ve had several conflicting reports about it - and that’s before going to see the referee,” said Rovers’ boss.
“The referee was in a fantastic position so it’s confusing why he’d take the advice of the linesman.
“Nobody has touched it on the way through.
“It was a big decision and it cost us massively.
“If the goal’s given we go on and win the game, which we should have done.
“It was a difficult game for both teams because there wasn’t a big crowd.
“But I told the players at half time they needed to go out, run around and get the supporters up for it.”
Meanwhile, Dickov confirmed Enda Stevens has extended his loan stay until January.
The former St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers player is on Aston Villa’s books.