DONCASTER Rovers boss Dean Saunders didn’t look for excuses after seeing his charges dumped out of the FA Cup in the second round tie at Oldham Athletic.
Saunders was without six first-choice players due to injuries and suspensions and was forced to play three youth teamers on the bench.
“We had a completely different team out there, having said that I still thought that we had enough to beat them,” he said after the 3-1 defeat.
“We played brilliant for the first 25 minutes and we had them on the floor but we let them get back up. But well done to Oldham. They needed to win.”
Saunders’ failure to bolster his squad prior to the recent loan deadline counted against him as he was forced to field defenders Andy Griffin and Jamie McCombe on the bench, neither of whom was fully fit, along with trialist Michael Woods, who came on for the last couple of minutes.
“We effectively had no subs so we were right down to the bones,” he said. “I was just hoping no-one got injured.
“I was disappointed for the fans (510 made the trip over the Pennines) because everyone wants to do well in the FA Cup. I told the players that financially we were needing the victory.”
A great supporter of the competition, former Cup winner Saunders added: “Had I had all the players available I would have played them all.”
Rovers got off to a flying start with striker Robbie Blake opening the scoring after just four minutes.
There were further chances at both ends before Oldham levelled the scores in first-half stoppage-time.
“I think that goal got them back into the game,” said Saunders.
“We had a lot of players out there (who have not been playing regularly) who are not 100 per cent and four or five of them blew up fitness-wise in the second half.”
“I thought we had quite a big strong back-four but from there going forward we struggled to make any impact.
“The FA Cup has gone for another year and we’ve got to put it behind us. We’ve got a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game at Crewe on Tuesday, and we’ve got to look forward.”
Both Iain Hume and leading scorer David Cotterill, who missed Saturday’s game due to a one-match ban, will be available for the trip to Gresty Road.