Keeper Woods is looking solid

Full of confidence: Gary Woods says the win at Derby has been a great lift.  Picture: Sarah Washbourn
Full of confidence: Gary Woods says the win at Derby has been a great lift. Picture: Sarah Washbourn
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Rovers’ No 2 Richard O’Kelly and leading scorer Billy Sharp were both fulsome in their praise for rookie keeper Gary Woods after Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Pride Park.

The former Manchester United junior has certainly bounced back from conceding six goals in only his fourth senior outing in the club-record 6-0 home league defeat at Ipswich Town.

“You are going to concede goals that are your fault,” said Woods. “I thought that a couple of goals were my fault.

“I was obviously disappointed with my performance but it was just one of those things which happen in football.

“I thought I’d done alright in my previous games, especially the two against Burnley and Millwall.”

Woods, as he expected would be the case, found himself back on the bench for the next two games at Swansea and Norwich following the return to fitness of Neil Sullivan.

But when the veteran Scottish international, who will be disappointed at missing out on a return to one of his former clubs tomorrow, suffered an adverse reaction Woods found himself back in goal for last Saturday’s home game against Watford.

“It was obviously good to get back into the team again so quickly rather than have to wait a few weeks, as could have been the case had Sully not been injured,” said Woods.

“I had a point to prove to myself and obviously to the manager that I could come back after the Ipswich game and be as confident as I was before that game.”

Although Rovers are looking to bring in a more experienced keeper, Woods is hoping to keep his place in the side for tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby against Leeds United at Elland Road.

“I’m looking forward to it; all players like playing in front of big crowds,” he said.

“There were 25,000 at Derby and there will be even more at Leeds.

“But the size of the crowd doesn’t affect me. You still have to concentrate on your job whether you are playing in front of a crowd of a thousand, or 20,000.

“I didn’t know a great deal about Leeds until we started preparing for the game after the Derby game.

“I watched the first half hour or so of their televised game at Swansea on Saturday.

“They got beat 3-0 but, as we found out the week before, Swansea is one of the hardest places in the league to visit so you can’t really judge them on that one game.

“The fact that we had a good result at Derby in midweek means that we will go into the game full of confidence.”

After shipping in nine in their previous two games, Rovers have conceded just one in each of their last three games.

Testament, claims Woods, of the virtues of a settled back-four.

“We’ve played with the same back-four in the last three games and it helps that people know their job and how to play alongside each other and it helps to build a partnership,” he said.

“The back-four have done well in recent games and hopefully that will be the case and we can go to Elland Road and pick up a result.”