Doncaster Rovers boss plays down pre-season form after Huddersfield Town win extends unbeaten run

Gary McSheffrey is refusing to read too much into Doncaster’s pre-season form despite watching his side make it four wins from four.

Saturday, 16th July 2022, 7:39 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th July 2022, 9:17 pm

Rovers came through their toughest test yet against Huddersfield Town with a 1-0 victory thanks to Lee Tomlin’s second-half penalty at a sun-drenched Eco-Power Stadium.

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“I have been in pre-seasons when you have gone unbeaten then had a stinker,” said McSheffrey, whose team have conceded just once in 360 minutes.

Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey with midfielder Tommy Rowe. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD.

"At Birmingham we didn’t win a (pre-season) game until the last game, against Dagenham, then we finished ninth in the Premier League.

"From the pre-season we had you wouldn’t dream of that, so we can’t look into it.”

Impressive rearguard action in both halves kept last season’s Championship play-off finalists at bay, with Rovers creating chances of their own throughout.

Tomlin sent Terriers keeper Gio Bellagambi the wrong way from 12 yards after George Miller’s pressing forced Loick Ayina into fouling him when he won possession high up the pitch.

McSheffrey said he was largely pleased with what he saw throughout and added: “We are trying to get a team that’s hard to beat and the buy-in from all the lads is brilliant.

"I feel like we’ve got them. I feel like they constantly want to learn, daily, even the 33-year-olds. They’re absorbing everything.”

The Rovers’ boss also praised his side’s gamesmanship in the final 10 minutes as they saw the win out.

Next up for Doncaster is Tuesday’s visit of Rotherham United, who spanked them 5-0 and 6-0 in league and cup last season.

McSheffrey described those scorelines as ‘humiliating’.

He said: "We were a bit of a soft touch against them twice last year, so we’ve got to be hard to beat.

"Today has to give the lads some confidence. We don’t get carried away and ahead of ourselves.”

McSheffrey continued: "We know we’ve got some good players, but we need to become more difficult to beat and not leak goals like we did last year.

"If we keep it at nil most games we’ve got players that will nick us a goal or two. That has to be our target going into every game.”

Five trialists featured for Rovers on Saturday, including a right-back who is understood to have linked up with the club on Friday.