Doncaster Rovers: Players told to smarten up + early Portsmouth team news

Liam Mandeville is Rovers' only senior forward available to face Portsmouth. Photo ''Andrew Roe
Liam Mandeville is Rovers' only senior forward available to face Portsmouth. Photo ''Andrew Roe

Darren Ferguson says his Doncaster Rovers players must smarten up during games as to where they are going wrong on the pitch.

Rovers slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic on Saturday, from which Ferguson was furious with the first half performance.

And he says the players must figure out for themselves where games are being lost.

“They have to work that out quicker themselves on the pitch because everyone else can see that,” Ferguson told The Star.

“Yes, we have one or two moments when we quickened things up but I was disappointed with the first half.

“You have to take responsibility.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re 18 or 35 – that part of the game has to be there.

“They know themselves.

“A lot of managers might have said they did all right. Ok, they were getting beat but they were comfortable and they have caused them problems.

“But it was not to the level I expect.”

Ferguson says he has told his players in no uncertain terms what he thinks the reason is for Rovers not picking up positive results.

But he says he will keep that reason in house.

He said: “At the moment we’re not getting the results we need to get.

“Fundamentally I need to find the reason.

“I know what I’ve said to the players I think is the reason and that will stay in the dressing room.

“It’s up to the players to react.

“Certainly I think they’re leaning too much on me at the minute.”

Ferguson is facing a forwards crisis ahead of tomorrow night’s clash with Portsmouth at the Keepmoat.

John Marquis is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season.

James Coppinger was forced off at Charlton with a calf problem while Alfie May is facing potential surgery on an on-going groin injury.

With Andy Williams already out, Rovers have only one recognised senior forward available in Liam Mandeville.

Ferguson said: “I’ve got three out and Andy Williams as well so four of my main attacking players are out right now.

“I’ll have to get my head around that.

“Andy Williams is definitely out and I would say at the moment he is doubtful for the Walsall game as well.”