Doncaster Rovers: Ex-Portsmouth midfielder Ben Close makes several honest admissions after Northampton Town defeat

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There couldn’t have been many satisfied customers at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday, unless they were in the away end.

Ben Close admitted Doncaster Rovers let down the 5,558 home fans who turned out to see their team brushed aside 2-0 by Northampton to fall to their seventeenth defeat of the season.

Earlier that week 307 supporters made what is an almost eight-hour round-trip from Doncaster to Crawley to support their side on a Tuesday night.

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"We fully understand fans spend their well-earned money to come and watch us and support us. We are not giving them enough at the moment,” admitted midfielder Close.

Doncaster's Ben Close.Doncaster's Ben Close.
Doncaster's Ben Close.

"We are not showing up.”

Close was asked if he would be prepared to part with his own cash to watch Doncaster, who have one win in their last eight games.

After a long pause, the 26-year-old told The Free Press: “Performances haven’t been good enough. We are not creating enough chances or scoring enough goals.

"But for me it's about trusting this process. The manager has given us absolutely everything. It’s down to us as individuals to perform.

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"Everyone who comes into the team knows their job, knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing, and that’s all you can ask for from the coaching staff.

“It comes down to players taking responsibility and every single one of us improving.”

Doncaster’s aim for this season was promotion but it’s looking far more likely they will be playing League Two football again next season. To many, that represents failure.

The appointment of Danny Schofield to replace Gary McSheffrey has yet to have the desired effect six months on.

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Results and performances remain far too inconsistent to challenge for promotion and have nosedived amid a string of injuries to first-team players.

Rovers are 23rd in League Two’s form table over the last eight matches and Close admitted the players simply haven’t been good enough under either boss at times this season.

“At times it 100 per cent comes down to a lack of quality,” he said.

"Certain games have been down to a lack of personality and players having the confidence and courage to play at their best.

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"We are not here to lose and draw games as professional footballers.

"It’s not fun, but we realise the situation we are in.”

Close was a marquee signing for Doncaster in the summer of 2021 when he rejected fresh terms at his boyhood club, Portsmouth, to sign a three-year contract at the Eco-Power Stadium.

He still has another year to run on his contract. But does he still feel he can fulfil his career ambitions at the club?

”I absolutely do,” said Close.

“I think the club is going in a positive direction, although performances and results aren’t showing that at the moment.

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"I feel the club’s got an excellent coach with an excellent footballing brain. He knows exactly what he wants from the team, he gets his messages across very clear and educates players.

"I believe with a bit more time and a good summer the club can do really good things. I fully believe that.”