Andy Butler sets Doncaster Rovers players challenge over remaining games
Andy Butler has set his players the challenge of proving to everyone that they are the same Doncaster Rovers side that was contesting automatic promotion just a few months ago.
Rovers looked a side shot of confidence as they collapsed to a 3-0 defeat against Burton Albion on Tuesday - their fifth straight loss and 11th from their last 16 matches.
Butler had no intention of lambasing his fragile players afterwards, with their downfall coming after their most promising first half performance for a while.
Instead he has urged them to focus on what they are capable of achieving over the final seven matches, including getting back to the level of performance that had them among the leading promotion contenders at the start of February.
“You can go two ways with it - you can either hammer the players constantly for the result or you can spin it on its head and say we cannot get any worse than that second half,” he told the Free Press.
“We cannot allow things to strip us of confidence.
“It’s a challenge for the players and staff at the club to turn results around.
“I go back to challenges, and there is no bigger challenge than this now.
“People have written us off but there are still 21 points to play for.
“Why not give it a good shot and try to prove to people that we are the team that started the season so well.”
Rovers currently sit eight points off the final play-off place with at least one game in hand over most of the sides above them.
Victory at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday is vital if they are to have any chance of making up the ground.
But Butler knows that will be far from simple against a side that beat them at the Keepmoat in December to prevent them from taking top spot in League One.
“They’re another good, hard-working side.
“They don’t get any easier. Shrewsbury came to our place and did a job on us.
“They’re a tough, hardworking side. They’ve got a strong back three.
“It’s about what we do. If we get out there right and put in a positive performance then the result will take care of itself. If you don’t then it’s going to be a tough game.”