Doncaster Rovers: Darren Ferguson on '˜consolidation', expectations and a selection dilemma for visit of Bury
Doncaster Rovers have had to pick themselves up off the floor following the painful derby defeat at Rotherham United.
But there will be no one in the Rovers dressing room feeling sorry for themselves this weekend as they bid to beat Bury and, in the process, take a big step towards cementing their League One status.
“We’re fully concentrated on getting a win on Saturday and 45 points with ten games to go is not bad,” said boss Darren Ferguson.
“You would have to say that’s okay for us.
“Given the amount of injuries we’ve had, and also the fact that perhaps this season was going to be one of those seasons where it may be a little bit more about consolidation, and given the longer term plan, I think 45 points with ten games to go would be [okay].
“That’s maybe not in everyone’s eyes, including myself. I always want to be a bit better. I’ve never really had a season where it’s been a bit like this, it’s either been fighting for promotion or fighting to stay up.
“Maybe the expectations have to be, not toned down as such, because everyone can have their own expectations. I’ve got high expectations of my players.
“But I’m also fully aware that this league has changed this year. It’s more like a ‘mini-Championship’. There’s no doubt about that. The budgets show that.
“We’ve just got to keep improving.”
Rovers, in 14th, are six points clear of the drop zone, while second bottom Bury are eight points adrift of safety.
Ferguson could be forced into at least three changes after confirming Alfie Beestin suffered ankle ligament damage and Tom Anderson fractured his cheekbone in the 2-1 defeat at the New York Stadium.
Beestin will miss 6-8 weeks, while on-loan centre back Anderson is out for 4-6 weeks.
Andy Boyle is also a doubt with a groin strain but Luke McCullough is set to return after missing the South Yorkshire derby.
“Beestin was in good form and someone’s obviously going to have to replace him,” said Ferguson.
“Someone’s going to have replace Anderson.
“[Andy] Boyle’s a doubt for Saturday so someone might have to replace him.
“Again I’ve got to make changes so I don’t get the consistency I would like.
“I had to make another one last weekend because McCullough was injured.
“I’m going to have to make at least three this Saturday so it’s not giving us continuity but we have to get on with it.
“The big decision I’ve got to make - unless someone really grabs that position by the scruff of the neck - is the one that plays in front of the back four.
“I’ve got three players there now - Whiteman, Houghton and McCullough - all vying for one place.
“Luke will be fit for Saturday. So that’s probably the most difficult decision I’ve got.”