Doncaster Rovers: Research pays off for Sam Johnstone

Goalscorer Theo Robinson congratulates goalkeeper Sam Johnstone at the final whistle -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Goalscorer Theo Robinson congratulates goalkeeper Sam Johnstone at the final whistle -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Sam Johnstone admits he already had an idea which way Michael Smith would put his penalty before making his match-winning save at Swindon.

The Rovers keeper kept Smith’s spot kick out with 12 minutes to go at the County Ground, helping to secure a 1-0 win.

And he revealed afterwards – somewhat coyly – that, along with the coaching staff, he had taken a look at footage of Swindon’s regular penalty takers.

When asked about whether he did research into the opposition, Johnstone said: “I think you could see that with how it turned out.

“It helped me today.

“It’s difficult because you’re looking for minor details. But we found them today and it paid off.

“You have to look. Sometimes you look at certain players and someone else takes it.

“But you have to try and give yourself any advantage you can.”

Johnstone’s loan deal from Manchester United expires on January 3.

And while saying the ultimate decision remains with his parent club, the England U21 international admitted he is open to staying at the Keepmoat as long as he his guaranteed playing time.

He said: “ I enjoyed being here last year and I’m back playing football which is what I want to do.

“I get on well with the manager and the players so it’s all good.

“The opportunity came in October to come here and play.

“I was told it would be up for review in January and that’s all I really know about it.

“My main priority is playing games right now.

“Whatever opportunity comes up, I’ll take it.”

Since Johnstone’s Rovers return, he has been a big part in the strong away form that continued with Saturday’s win over Swindon.

Yet he has also seen the continuation of the poor home form, with just one win at home this term.

Johnstone had no real explanation of the difference between the home and away results, other than ‘it’s just football.’

He said: “Our performances at home are good but we’ve just been unlucky, not finishing our chances at one end and then the opposition grabbing a goal.

“Hopefully, confidence is high after the Swindon win and we can take it into the home games.

“I know everyone here wants to do that.”