Doncaster Rovers: Relegation would hurt even more this time, admits Chris Brown

Chris Brown (right) is confident Rovers can avoid the drop.

Chris Brown (right) is confident Rovers can avoid the drop.

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Like chalk and cheese.

That’s how Chris Brown reflects on his two seasons in the Championship with Doncaster Rovers.

And the 29-year-old striker - a serious contender for Rovers’ player of the season - is confident of a much happier ending this time round too.

Plagued by injury and pushed down the pecking order by Dean Saunders, Brown made just 12 appearances as Rovers’ foreign legion slipped out of the second tier two years ago.

Times have changed.

Brown, relentless in his work ethic and rewarded with a nine goal return, became the fulcrum of Doncaster’s forward play from the moment Paul Dickov was appointed. He’s one of the first names on the teamsheet.

And for the most part, his campaign has been injury-free; his importance to this team epitomised by the fact he played for a month despite breaking his foot mid-winter.

Brown simply can’t hide his frustration looking back at Doncaster’s demise two seasons ago. He’s also honest enough to admit relegation would hurt even more this time around.

“I think it would [hurt more],” said Brown.

“But we’re all very positive. We know we’ve got the players in there to get the points necessary and I’m sure that we’ll do it.

“It was a bad time,” he says, recalling the 2011/12 campaign.

“It was hard because when I first came, you meet your new team-mates and I got injured straight away in pre-season.

“It just wasn’t an enjoyable time and unfortunately Sean O’Driscoll got sacked after seven games so I never really got to play for him.

“Then Saunders came in and my knee wasn’t right until probably March or April time when I managed to get fit for the last few games.

“It wasn’t an enjoyable season but I’ve really enjoyed this season,” he added.

“It’s a good set of lads, I enjoy training, and the gaffer’s shown a lot of faith in me personally to play me when I’ve been fit.”

What’s the secret behind Brown’s impressive campaign? He’s not so sure.

“Maybe it’s my body is just finally developing,” he joked.

“It’s only taken 28 years!

“I don’t really want the season to end to be honest.

“I think it’s been my best season in terms of starts and probably consistency as well. You want to keep on playing.

“I’ve worked closely with Ben [Rome] and the physios. Their preparation and conditioning work has been brilliant.”

Turning his attention to this weekend, Brown insists Rovers are heading into the Derby and Millwall double bill in positive frame of mind.

“They’re two big games and we’re looking forward to them,” he said.

“Take out the second half from Birmingham and the start against Bolton and we’ve done well performance-wise recently.

“It’s not like we’re playing badly or struggling for confidence. The lads are playing well.

“It’s obviously a massive one tonight on Sky and we’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We just have to start the game better than we did against Bolton.”