Rovers: Hard work is paying off, says Doncaster boss Saunders

Pay offs: Dean Saunders has been delighted to see midfielder James Coppinger among the goals.
Pay offs: Dean Saunders has been delighted to see midfielder James Coppinger among the goals.
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AS he sends him team out seeking a sixth game without defeat, Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders has underlined what it has taken to put them within touching distance of the safety places.

If Rovers win or avoid defeat today against Derby County at the Keepmoat, then it will equal the best unbeaten run for exactly two years.

It was back in March 2010 that Rovers last put together a six match unbeaten run - and during that sequence they had a 2-1 home win over today’s opponents!

They now go into today’s game and then another home game on Tuesday against Millwall looking for a points return that will lift them out of the bottom three for the first time since early October. Saunders reflected on what he had to do to try and turn Rovers from potential relegation fodder into a side that has a chance of staying up.

“Building a new team and trying to keep them up was a case of getting quick fix solutions to problems that were here before,” he said.

“Number one was getting them working harder because the first thing I noticed is I didn’t think that enough hard work was going into it or was misdirected.

“I also wanted them fitter so that they can do what I’m asking them to do.

“It was about getting my thought processes over to them because if the football wasn’t working then we were in trouble. We needed something else and now we’re not a pushover any more.”

He said he studied the first seven or so games of the season on DVD and noticed a lot of bad goals being conceded.

“That happens to teams at the bottom and we needed to be better organised in all aspects, set-pieces, open play.

“But then when you’re changing players, new ones are coming in, you have to say it all over again. Get a settled side and you just keep reminding them of the things that get you results.

“Then you fit the best players you can into the framework. It’s no secret - it’s about good players working hard and buying into what you want.”

He expressed his delight at recent goals ‘pay-offs’ following advice to Kyle Bennett and James Coppinger,

“I’ve been ramming it home about getting into the six yard box and they’ve both got in there and scored vital goals in the past week,” he added.