PAUL GOODWIN: Boro stalemate cause for cautious optimism

Billy Sharp sees his shot blocked by George Friend. Picture: Steve Uttley
Billy Sharp sees his shot blocked by George Friend. Picture: Steve Uttley

When Doncaster were rolled over at the Riverside Stadium in October the cracks in Paul Dickov’s squad were just starting to appear.

Injuries were about to bite.

So Saturday’s stalemate against a talented Boro team at least showed that those cracks have since been filled in - if not completely cemented.

A new physicality meant Boro found Doncaster tougher to play against and harder to break down.

Both sides just lacked composure in the final third, as the howling wind made for a contest not particularly easy on the eye.

For boss Paul Dickov, he could take heart from a third clean sheet in four, a major step in the right direction.

But a fourth game without defeat also came at a cost, as Richie Wellens picked up his tenth booking and Paul Keegan’s thigh started playing up, meaning Rovers could go to Brighton minus both first choice central midfielders.

With Ross Turnbull out for a month too, it served as a timely warning; a reminder Rovers are a lot more susceptible when key players are absent.

Up to 19th, the pressure has eased.

But with a difficult run-in, Rovers cannot afford to take their foot off the gas.

And they’ll still need a lot more luck with injuries than they had before Christmas to see themselves safe.