Doncaster Rovers: Dickov gets tough on game management

Paul Dickov
Paul Dickov

Paul Dickov is getting tough on ‘game management’ as his side aim to maintain their record of avoiding back-to-back league defeats at manager-less Middlesbrough.

Rovers players returned to training today to press ahead with plans for Friday night’s Sky-televised trip to the Riverside Stadium, hoping to bounce back from the weekend’s 4-1 reverse at Reading.

Just like they did last term, Doncaster have responded well to set backs this season.

They have followed up their four league defeats prior to Saturday with two wins and two draws.

Rovers’ squad is clearly not short on spirit, work-rate and endeavour.

But Dickov will stress the importance of ‘game management’, learning to play the situation, when he reviews the Reading defeat with his squad today.

“The biggest disappointment was that we didn’t manage the game properly, especially in the second half,” said Dickov, reflecting on the Royals reverse.

“We did well to keep it at 2-1. I just sensed people in the stadium were getting a little bit edgy and we could’ve nicked one.

“Then big Rob [Jones] goes off and we were down to ten men but we were still pushing for an equaliser.

“However, our decision making for the final two goals was really poor.”

It’s not the first time this season Dickov has mentioned ‘game management’. It also cropped up after Rovers played well against Championship leaders Burnley but then shot themselves in the foot by conceding a penalty in first half stoppage time.

“As a group we need to learn how to manage the game properly,” Dickov said.

“Regardless of whether we had ten or eleven men on Saturday, at 2-1 we were still in with a chance of getting something.

“I’ve been in games before when you’re leading 2-1 at home but you start getting a bit edgy and dropping a bit deeper. That’s what was happening on Saturday.

“We’re disappointed with the game management but I cannot fault the players’ effort, work rate and the fact they tried to keep on playing right to the end.”

Rob Jones will report for training as usual today after scans confirmed he did not break his arm against Reading. His condition will be assessed by physio Alex Dalton.