Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers: ‘Big match feel will help bring the best out of us’

Liam Mandeville scored the only goal of the game when Rovers bounced back from defeat at Plymouth to beat Grimsby in December.

Liam Mandeville scored the only goal of the game when Rovers bounced back from defeat at Plymouth to beat Grimsby in December.

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The trip to Grimsby Town is the perfect game for Doncaster Rovers to bounce back from only their second defeat in 19 matches.

That is the verdict of boss Darren Ferguson as he plots a reaction to Sunday’s defeat against title rivals Plymouth Argyle.

A large and noisy crowd is expected at Blundell Park in Saturday’s early kick off, boosted by a big away following from Doncaster for what resembles a local derby for each side this term.

Ferguson was delighted with the performance from his side in defeat to Plymouth, in which they dominated possession and created chances.

And he believes the ‘big match’ feel at Grimsby this weekend will help bring the best out of his side again as they look to take another step towards promotion.

“It’s going to have an edge to it,” Ferguson told the Free Press. “It’s going to have the feel of a derby.

“They’re still going for the play-offs but they’re perhaps playing with that bit more freedom knowing they can’t go down and it’s going to be hard for them to get in the top seven with so many teams around them.

“But us having a big support will help. It will feel like a big game.

“It will be a tough game. It was a tough game here and I expect another one.

“The most important thing is we’ve got to just focus on one game, that’s Saturday, and getting back to winning ways.”

Win this weekend and, even with the worst case scenario, Rovers would be 16 points clear of fourth place with 18 left to play for.

Ferguson insists his players needed no picking up after Sunday’s defeat because they all held the belief that, other than scoring, there was little more they could have done to beat Plymouth.

“They were fine Monday morning. They were in and they were bubbly, lively.

“There was no reason for them to be down.

“We were all very disappointed not to win and lose the unbeaten home record.

“If you’re going to lose a game I suppose you may as well lose it in the way we did.”