Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale: Will Ferguson's formula extend Rovers' festive joy?
Christmas tinkerman Darren Ferguson hopes Doncaster Rovers have found the right formula to extend their festive joy.
Rovers will move up to 10th in League One - if only temporarily - if they can beat Rochdale at home tonight and make it three wins on the bounce.
Back-to-back victories against Bristol Rovers and Northampton Town have catapulted Rovers away from danger and transformed the mood at the Keepmoat Stadium.
However, even during less productive times, Ferguson insists his team never lost belief in what they were doing.
Now he hopes to reap further rewards as upwardly mobile Rovers look to leap into 2018 with a significant spring in their step.
“What I feel has been the case is that our results have sometimes not been as good as our performances, but our performances have kept the belief,” said Ferguson.
“Now hopefully the results added to the belief will bring the confidence.
“It’s all about getting results at this time of year,” he added.
“I’m not really overly bothered about how great the performances are at the moment.
“It’s just about getting as many points as we can in this four game stretch.
“We’re two gone, two to go, and we’re at home on Friday night. It’s the first time we’ve got back-to-back league wins this season and it’s timely. It’s come at the right time for us. We’re looking forward to Friday.”
Ferguson deserves credit for the way he has rotated his formation and personnel to good effect thus far over the Christmas period - and his players have bought into it.
“I was always going to play the diamond on Boxing Day, I feel it’s worked well for us at home and I think we can get about teams and cause teams problems,” he explained.
“The change against Bristol [to 5-3-2] was a tactical change, in terms of how they played. I got my biggest team out there in terms of height.
“They coped with that fine, the team. And then I thought it was a very confident performance against Northampton.
“It’s not about individuals, it never will be,” he added. “And players have to accept that.
“I’ve managed long enough, and I’ve got enough games under my belt, to know that during this period you have to utilise the squad.”
Rochdale arrive at the Keepmoat with the second worst away record in the division. However, Ferguson is yet to get one over them in four attempts as Doncaster boss.
“I like Rochdale as a team,” he said. “They always play with a high energy, they’ve got a lot of good young players and they’ve got a lot of flexibility in their formations.
“They always give us a hard game. We always find it hard against Rochdale and I think it’ll be the same on Friday night.
“But I go back to what I said, it’s just about getting three points if we can.”