Paul Goodwin: Rovers’ return to Crewe is perfect progress-o-meter

Andy Butler and Andy Williams show their dejection at Crewe in April
Andy Butler and Andy Williams show their dejection at Crewe in April

I was away from work last week - and it was music to my ears to hear that Doncaster Rovers “dug-in” during the wins against Cheltenham Town and Yeovil Town.

When the going got tough last season, Rovers all too frequently went completely missing.

I’m told Rovers showed plenty of style and swagger in the first half at Whaddon Road and also when Yeovil went down to ten men on Saturday.

But much more pleasing than that is the way they stood up defensively to both Cheltenham and Yeovil’s forward threat, and also their physicality.

Saturday’s trip to Crewe provides a very sobering reminder of a Rovers team that seemed completely bereft of any fight - and one that could push the self-destruct button at any time.

It hardly seems five minutes ago since Tommy Rowe fired Doncaster ahead at the Alexandra Stadium and the visitors had complete control of the game.

But all it took was a moment of madness from Cedric Evina to turn the game on its head and send Rovers into their shells.

That game rather encapsulated the season. Rovers were all right when things were going their way but seemingly incapable of stemming the tide when the opposition took control.

So for Doncaster to have shown two sides to their game during the first month of this term - an ability to get at teams and also negate them even when things aren’t going entirely to plan - shows a clear measure of improvement.

Minus at least seven recognised defenders, the return trip to Crewe will be another test of character and another interesting gauge of how far Rovers have come since the summer.