DONCASTER Rovers face a striker crisis as they embark on one of the toughest periods of the season.

Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 11:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 11:51 am

Rovers visit Luton and Nottingham Forest and entertain Huddersfield and leaders Leyton Orient this month in the league.

But they will be robbed of the services of the in-form Lewis Guy for three of those games while Paul Heffernan looks set to miss the trip to Kennilworth Road at least.

Guy was sent-off in stoppage time in last night's 3-2 defeat against Walsall at the Keepmoat Stadium, while Heffernan wassubstituted at half-time with a groin strain.

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Jason Price and James Coppinger both came off the bench in the second half of last night's game, but neither looked anywhere near their best after injury lay-offs.

Mark McCammon is close to be able to resume following a hamstring injury, but he hasn't played for almost a month andhas only started two games since damaging a shoulder in March.

Manager Sean O'Driscoll will address the problem today. But the loss of three points, and the manner of Rovers defeat, was his main concern last night.

"It was the worst 45 minutes that we have played since I have been here," said a clearly disappointed Doncaster boss who is still looking to see his side grind out successive wins in the league this season.

"That is the first time that the players have let me down since I have been here. We lost everything in the second halfand it looked like we didn't want to play.

"We went from being a side who looked as though we were going to score four or five goals to one which ended up losing thegame.

"Hopefully it is a one-off. I think a few of the players will have to look long and hard at themselves.

"We wasted a great chance to pick up three points and push up the league with two difficult away games coming up.

"The game was won at half-time; we just needed to keep our discipline and keep on doing what we were doing. But we didn't and things went from bad to worse.

"The goal which won them the game was a completely silly goal to give away.

"We then lose Lewis Guy, who has probably been our most influential player in the last three games, for what I would imagine is foul and abusive language.

Many Rovers fans took out their frustration on referee Mike Jones as he was ushered off by stewards at the final whistle,.

They felt that Rovers should have had at least one penalty in the first half and that Walsall shouldn't have finished the game with eleven men still on the field.

But O'Driscoll refused to use the officials as a scapegoat.

"I don't think that you can blame the referee for anything," said the Rovers boss. "They give decisons honestly and they don't come here tocheat anybody. You just have to deal with it because if you don't you pay the consequences."

Said Walsall boss Richard Money:"Doncaster played really for 20 minutes in the first half and we were stretched to stay with them. But at times like that you've got to stay in contention and we were able to that.

"We came out in the second half and for 20 to 30 minutes we were terrific; that is probably the best we've played since I have been manager here.

"We got away with the penalty at the end but I thought that we probably deserved it."

O'Driscoll didn't dwell on James Coppinger's 89th minute spot kick miss.

"Copps took the penalty and missed the target and there is not a lot we can do about that," he said. "I am more concerned with our general play in the second half which wasn't good enough."