DONCASTER ROVERS: Saunders issues striker ultimatum ahead of Brentford test

Rovers' Billy Paynter has a header on goal against Preston. Picture: Andrew Roe
Rovers' Billy Paynter has a header on goal against Preston. Picture: Andrew Roe

DEAN Saunders has told his quartet of strikers to find the net - or expect to find themselves on the bench.

Rovers welcome an in-form Brentford side to the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday having scored just five goals in five league games on home soil.

Saunders told the Free Press “the pressure is on” his forwards to either find their scoring touch, or risk losing their place in the starting eleven.

Joint leading scorer Chris Brown - level on four goals with winger David Cotterill - has not found the net in Rovers’ last six games, while his current strike partner Billy Paynter has bagged two in ten appearances.

They face competition from loan star Iain Hume, who is ready to start against the Bees after returning from international duty with Canada.

Teenage hot shot Jordan Ball has also burst onto the scene after his sensational debut goal against Chesterfield last week.

Saunders said: “If you’re a striker and you play for this club, you’re job is to score goals.

“Your job is when the ball comes into the box, you have to get the first touch on it.

“The pressure is on our strikers.

“With Iain available again and Jordan doing well, there’s competition for places up there now.

“We need to score more goals, especially at home,” he added.

“If we score more goals we eliminate the bad refereeing decisions, like the one we got at Hartlepool on Saturday.

“We’re top of the pass completion and crossing stats so we’re getting the ball into the box.

“It’s up to whoever plays up front to be sharper and get on the end of things.”

Saunders was very upbeat about Rovers’ start to the season when he spoke to the Free Press this week, waxing lyrical about the team spirit and the role that the likes of Rob Jones and James Harper have had in helping the squad gel quickly.

Rovers face arguably their toughest period of the new campaign over the next ten days as they prepare to host a Brentford side unbeaten in their last seven, before travelling to runaway league leaders Tranmere on Tuesday and then facing fifth placed Notts County.

But Saunders refused to be daunted by the prospect.

“I’m not particularly bothered who we play,” he said.

“Our first eleven is a match for anyone in this division.

“They’re not going to be easy games but we’ve done some training two weeks ago in preparation for this trio of games.

“All the lads have done great so far and things are going well for us,” he added.

“If we could get seven points out of the next nine available I would be very happy with that.”

Hume is likely to be recalled to the starting line-up on Saturday at the expense of either Brown or Paynter.

The diminutive striker scored for Canada on Tuesday in an 8-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Honduras.

Kyle Bennett (ankle) and Paul Quinn (hip) are currently nursing injuries but are expected to be fit.