`

Harder, Faster, Stronger: How Doncaster Rovers raised the bar in build-up to facing rivals Rotherham United

Alex Kiwomya made his first start for Rovers against Fleetwood.
Alex Kiwomya made his first start for Rovers against Fleetwood.

Doncaster Rovers’ players have raised the bar in terms of their running statistics, according to Darren Ferguson.

And he says that intensity, and the back-to-basics nature of the performance against Fleetwood Town, was the perfect build-up for today’s South Yorkshire derby at Rotherham United.

“The stats were excellent in terms of the running distances and the high speed running - it was probably the best of the season,” revealed Ferguson. “If we can use that as a benchmark we’ll be competitive in any game we play.

“We didn’t change too much against Fleetwood but what we did, we did very effectively. We took out the risk element, possibly because of the pitch, and it worked. We did the basics better.

“Regardless of what level you’re at, if you don’t get that bit right - if you don’t run, if you don’t win your tackles and your headers and your second balls - there’s a good chance you’ll lose the game.

“They are the fundamentals. After that your ability comes through.

“There was a lot of that last weekend which we did very well and that sets us up perfectly for the game at Rotherham because a lot of the game is going to be about that.”

Today’s game is Doncaster’s first competitive visit to the New York Stadium. Rovers’ last win at Rotherham came in 1985, while the Millers have won ten of the last 11 meetings with their neighbours on home soil. Rovers’ last visit to Millmoor, in 2006, ended in a 0-0 draw.