Doncaster Rovers: The realisation of relegation fired us up - Chris Brown

Chris Brown.
Chris Brown.

Players realised that Rovers would be relegated if they did not pick themselves up after the Bournemouth thrashing - that has been the key to a quick turnaround admits Doncaster striker Chris Brown.

Manager Paul Dickov has not pulled any punches during his interviews following the 5-0 hammering on the South coast at the beginning of March, saying that that crushing result was just the wake-up call his squad needed.

Since then, Rovers enjoyed a superb run throughout March which included clinching scalps off Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.

They also treated their Keepmoat faithful to a last-gasp victory against Watford thanks to a Billy Sharp strike and netted a valuable point on their travels against difficult opponents Nottingham Forest.

The only blip came on the tough trip to Turf Moor as promotion hopefuls Burnley picked up a 2-0 win in Lancashire.

Following Rovers’ 2-1 victory over Leeds United last Saturday, that result catapulted Doncaster into 18th in the Championship and maintained a healthy points gap away from the drop zone.

Striker Brown is under no illusion as to just how pivotal that Bournemouth thumping was in aiding their incredible turnaround.

“The realisation that we were in trouble,” said Brown when asked what was the key to their upturn in form.

“Looking at the Bournemouth game, we were below-par.

“And I think the Barnsley game, the Yeovil game, we just weren’t at it.

“But getting a hammering at Bournemouth, after the game we kind of realised that if we didn’t pick up then we were going to get relegated. Since then, the lads have been on the front foot with and without the ball, getting second balls, chasing everything.

“It’s what you need in this league. You look at Burnley, that’s all they do.

“They’re fitter than everybody else, they work harder than everybody else and they’re in the top two, so if it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for everybody else.”

The 29-year-old knows that one month of good results will not win Championship survival. However, Brown hopes the run can continue into the final stages of their season.

“We’ve done it in the past [kept up a good run],” said the former Sunderland trainee.

“We got good results at Wigan, Charlton, Blackpool and Middlesbrough but then we went on a disappointing run.

“This time I think we’ve got a lot of quality in the side.

“It just shows that if you do slip below the standards with the ball then you are going to get punished and we haven’t so far.

“But we’ve got to maintain it, we’re still not safe and the lads know that but we’re definitely going in the right direction.”