Doncaster Rovers boss on the congested fixture list after latest raft of postponements

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Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Moore is predicting more tough times ahead as clubs strive to complete the League One season but insists the welfare of the players must be the primary concern.

A season that had already been condensed due to starting six weeks later than normal has seen significant disruption in recent weeks with a raft of fixtures postponed due to cases of Covid-19.

Rovers themselves were forced to call off the clash with Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day after two players tested positive for the virus, and upcoming fixtures against Fleetwood Town, Peterborough United and Oxford United are now under threat.

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Speaking before the cases were confirmed, Moore expressed concern about the demands of the schedule on players, particularly with the determination to finish the season in time for the European Championship to take place in the summer.

Darren MooreDarren Moore
Darren Moore

“We’ve lost two months at the start of the season so the fixtures are piled upon us,” he said.

“We don’t know what the winter will bring us and that will be a major concern for the authorities.

“At the level we’re at, pitches get frozen and there’s more games called off. But not only that, with the pandemic we’re in, there could be another surge like now where games are getting cancelled left, right and centre.

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“There’s the Euros in the summer and it’s imperative they go ahead. The only way they go ahead is if domestic football finishes.

“There is a lot of pressure on everyone to get it done but it doesn’t take into account the players’ welfare.

“It’s about their physical and mental status to perform at a high level. I’ve been a former player myself and I know the demands it takes on the body.

“It is imperative. There is not even a question mark against it.

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“If whatever we are doing is putting anyone at risk we must do everything to protect that individual or group of people.”

Moore says any concerns expressed by clubs over the demands of the fixture list have received little attention from the governing bodies and therefore there is no choice but just to press on.

“The big thing first and foremost that I’m concerned with is the health and safety of everybody,” he said.

“That goes without saying, making sure we are safe and well.

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“If you are safe and well to continue to play then it is what it is.

“Umpteen managers up and down the divisions have complained about the fixture list we’ve had and the soft tissue injuries they’ve had. We’ve suffered them the same.

“We played a team on Tuesday that had enjoyed a decent rest and had time to work on things but it is what it is.

“No matter how much we complain about it or try to give our professional insight on how the structure of the league and how it’s mapped out, it’s really just gone on deaf ears.

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“From the governing bodies’ point of view there is a fixture to be fulfilled and a season to be fulfilled. By hook or by crook whenever they are played, they’re making sure they are played and we are completing a season.

“We have to get on with what we have to face.”


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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