Doncaster Rovers: Here’s to you, Mr Robinson

Theo Robinson celebrates his equaliser for Doncaster Rovers at Reading
Theo Robinson celebrates his equaliser for Doncaster Rovers at Reading

There were two rarities at the Madejski Stadium: a tactical substitution midway through the first half and, later, a manager admitting he got his team selection wrong.

Both raised the stock of Theo Robinson, who is almost certain to start against Middlesbrough tonight.

Robinson was a victim of his own success during the build-up to the Berkshire trip.

His prolonged absence from Cantley Park - due to his involvement in Jamaica’s final two World Cup qualifiers - meant Paul Dickov put Plan B into action on the training ground and stuck to it on Saturday.

But Robinson’s value to Rovers became immediately obvious as his unusual 23rd minute introduction, at the expense of Dean Furman, bore fruit immediately. It wasn’t all about his goal though.

Chris Brown was isolated and frustrated as a lone frontman in a 4-5-1 formation, but Robinson’s presence and pace gave a competent Royals outfit something to think about.

Dickov later admitted that he got it wrong by leaving the 24-year-old on the bench.

He’s unlikely to make the same mistake at Boro - against one of the Championship’s leakiest and nerviest backlines.

“Theo was a threat when he came on,” said Dickov.

“He gives us an out-ball.

“We’ve got to use his pace, it’s a massive asset for us.

“When he came on he started running at their defence and getting the ball down the sides. It let us get up the pitch and create chances.

“I’ll take the blame for not starting with Theo but he’d been away with Jamaica and the formation we started with looked good in training.

“But we changed it round quickly and credit to Theo for coming on and making an impact.

“Theo’s been putting in a fantastic shift for the team without getting goals, but he took his goal well on Saturday,” he added.

“The one thing Theo will do for us this season is get goals.”

Rovers departed Reading with their tails between their legs; beaten by the better team.

But Robinson’s self-esteem will have been boosted no end by his game altering, if not changing, appearance. Don’t bet against him scoring at the Riverside.