A delighted Paul Dickov has hailed his experienced players for helping drive his side to a stunning 3-0 victory over Championship high-fliers Wigan Athletic.
The Scotsman has endured a torrid time with an injury-ravaged squad but on Saturday afternoon was able to partner long-term absentee Paul Keegan alongside Richie Wellens to face the Latics.
The match marked 29-year-old Keegan’s first start since the 0-0 draw at Barnsley back in November, following time on the sidelines through a hamstring injury.
The clash also saw a debut appearance for 30-year-old Romanian full-back Gabriel Tamas, who signed from West Brom just 24 hours before the game, and a second successive start for 33-year-old centre back Abdoulaye Meite.
Add to that a vintage man-of-the-match display from James Coppinger - who combined with Wellens for Rovers’ second - Wigan struggled to cope with a confident, assured and attacking performance from a relatively injury-free Doncaster side at the Keepmoat.
The game saw striker Chris Brown, also back fully fit, netting twice - once from the penalty spot which was Rovers’ first spot-kick of the season.
“Having Keegs back and Husband, Bongani Khumalo and James Coppinger from all the injuries we’ve had, Chris Brown is back to full fitness and Harry Forrester, we’ve been desperate to get these players back,” said Dickov following Rovers’ first win since QPR two months ago.
“Rob Jones is close, Paul Quinn too. I said all along if we can get through that period of injury and still be within touching distance with everyone around us then I’d be more than happy.
“Obviously the results haven’t been going right but there’s been signs in the performances in games that we weren’t far away.”
He went on: “With the additions of Abdou Meite and Gabby Tamas we’ve got that experience at the back and hopefully, I’ve said it to the players, all we’re going to do now is get better.
“When you’ve got big characters and big players out injured sometimes it can affect performances on the pitch. I’ve been loath to use that as an excuse.
“When you look around the changing room and you see people of the experience of Gabby [Tamas], Abdou [Meite], Keegs [Keegan] - who I have so much respect for coming back in and playing - and Hubby [Husband] is always a good player, you see that, not just on a matchday, but right through every week.”
He added: “I’m delighted with the result, the performance and clean sheet.
“What the players have done there is show exactly what they’re capable of.”