Preview: Plymouth Argyle v Doncaster Rovers - Concentration key to re-discovering winning habit
Concentration, concentration, concentration.
That is the word that Doncaster Rovers’ players will have ringing in their ears ahead of Saturday’s important duel with fellow newly-promoted side Plymouth Argyle.
At Northampton Rovers conceded after 24 seconds.
At Rochdale they got caught from a last gasp corner.
Someone then switched off from another corner which allowed Lee Novak to head in the winner for Scunthorpe on Sunday.
And Matty Blair is only too aware that that pattern must end at Home Park this weekend as Rovers look to end a run of six games without a win in League One.
“I think the gaffer was spot on with what he said after the Scunthorpe game about concentration,” said Blair.
“Concentration for the full 90 minutes is going to see us pick up positive results.
“We switched off for the corner and then we switched off for a couple of periods in the game.
“But when we were on it I thought we were on top and I thought we should’ve at least came out of the game with something.
“The stats would indicate a negative run but the performances are there,” he added.
“We’ve found that we’ve been in every game and it’s, like I say, about maintaining concentration levels for 90 minutes and not 75 or 80 minutes.
“As a group of lads that’s the issue what we have now got to take control of, cut out these mistakes and turn these losses into draws and the draws into wins.
“We know what we’ve got to do and we’ll work hard to do that.”
Rovers have produced notably improved second half displays in their last three league games, against Northampton, Rochdale and Scunthorpe.
When that issue was put to him, Blair was at a loss to explain it.
“Good question,” he said. “I haven’t got an answer for that.
“Whether or not we don’t come out as aggressive enough in the first half as we should do, or give the opposition too much respect, I don’t know.
“We’re finding our feet again in the league and we’ve got no one to fear in this league because we’re a good group of lads and we’ve got a lot of talent in the squad.
“But I don’t have an answer for that one.”
Plymouth did the double over Doncaster last season and skipper James Coppinger was sent off in the 2-0 defeat at Home Park.
Darren Ferguson must decide whether to re-instate John Marquis after dropping him for the game with Arsenal.
Rovers’ 3-5-1-1 formation worked well at the Emirates, but they will face a completely different test on Saturday against a Plymouth side who like to defend deep and play on the counter.
Probable: Lawlor; Wright, Butler, Mason; Blair, Houghton, Whiteman, Kongolo, Rowe; Coppinger; May.
Plymouth 0 Rovers 3, April 18, 2009
Rovers have lost on their last two visits to Home Park but it was a different story in 2009 when goals from John Spicer, James Hayter and Paul Heffernan earned the away side a comfortable win in the Championship.
Star man Graham Carey is serving the final game of a three match suspension after being sent off in the Pilgrims’ 1-0 home defeat to MK Dons.
Plymouth 19/10 Draw 23/10 Rovers 7/5
BUCKY’S CHARITY BET
Plymouth 1 Rovers 1