Doncaster Rovers: ‘What cup game?’ – Grant McCann playing dumb about Crystal Palace tie ahead of ‘more important’ clash with Southend United

Grant McCann is playing dumb when it comes to Doncaster Rovers’ upcoming FA Cup fifth round tie against Crystal Palace.

Queues were snaking out of the Keepmoat Stadium box office on Monday as tickets for Sunday’s game went on general sale and all went by the end of the day as FA Cup fever gripped the town.

Grant McCann

Grant McCann

But as far as McCann is concerned, the tie may as well not be happening at all, such is the lack of consideration he and his squad have given to it so far.

First and foremost in McCann’s mind is Tuesday night’s clash with Southend United at the Keepmoat and a chance to boost their cushion inside the top six to four points while still holding a further game in hand over seventh placed Peterborough United.

“What cup game?” McCann said after being asked about the Palace tie.

“It is easy to lose focus but I've kept the players hidden a little bit in terms of what is going on.

“We want to make sure we just focus on this game on Tuesday because it's more important.

“It really is.

“For us to win this game tomorrow would put us in a really healthy place in the league.

“But to win a game you have to be focused and perform to a high standard.”

Visitors Southend have won just one in five League One matches but McCann insists they should not be underestimated.

After splitting fixtures into 12 game stints and setting points targets for each, the Rovers boss says his side are currently behind in their current cycle.

But he believes getting on track in the remaining matches will leave them in a strong position for the final stretch of the campaign.

“We're about half way in this 12 game cycle and we're not far off where we should be,” he said.

“It's important we pick up some wins in these six to get ourselves back into a place where I know we can be and the players expect us to be.

“But this is another really tough game.

“It's one where it's so easy for people to forget about and look forward to Sunday.

“Not in our changing room – we know the importance of this game.”