Doncaster Rovers: Grant McCann pitches in with away day theory

Grant McCann is not a manager for excuses but he may have a reason why Doncaster Rovers have not been at their best away from home in recent weeks.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 5:00 am
Grant McCann

But he says if that reasoning has been a factor, then his side will have no excuses on their final two road trips of the regular campaign.

Rovers have won only one of their last seven matches on the road – the last one, at Bradford City a fortnight ago when they were hardly at their best.

And McCann believes the state of pitches around League One may have knocked his players off their stride, given they are more accustomed to a smooth surface at the Keepmoat.

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However, with trips to Sunderland and Oxford United to come over the next week or so, the Rovers boss says his side will not be able to have any complaints over playing surfaces.

“What I would say about the last few away games, and it is not an excuse, is that some of the surfaces we've played on haven't been great.” McCann told the Free Press.

“I don't know whether that has taken an effect on us in the way we play. Blackpool and Luton both weren't great and at Bradford it wasn't great.

“It's maybe affected the boys because they play on such a nice pitch at the Keepmoat.

“I think the next two away games we've got, Sunderland and Oxford, they've got very good pitches and I expect us to be a lot better with the ball than we have been, like we've shown at the Keepmoat.”

McCann believes navigating a way through a bobbly surface has played on the minds of some of his players and seen them avoid playing the sort of passes that have helped Rovers to success this season.

“It's the same for both teams but the home team are used to it,” he said. “It hasn't helped us. There is a bit of a difference.

“The boys have a nice pitch to play on and train on every day.

“It's maybe affected us, particularly the ball playing players.

“There are no excuses now. The next four games, we've got two at home and the pitch is excellent and we've got two away where the pitches are very good.

“Hopefully that will stand us in good stead.”

In contrast to their away form, Rovers’ home performances have been much stronger with their last defeat – against Sunderland who they visit on Friday – coming in October.

After beating Plymouth Argyle last weekend, McCann is confident Rovers could secure a top six spot on home form alone.

But he is keen to ignite away form to get them over the line quicker.

He said: “I think if we win the next two at home we'll be very close.

”But we want to do it at home and away. It was a big thing we said.

“This little mini run we're in the middle of with the last ten games, we've picked up more than two points per game.

“The first six we've got 12 points, If we can do that again we'll be in a good place.”