BELLIGERENT boss Dean Saunders has urged his under pressure players to hold their nerve as Doncaster Rovers battle to keep their heads above water.
Rovers wasted a glorious opportunity to close the gap on fourth bottom Bristol City with two abject displays against Derby and Millwall - and must travel to league leaders Southampton on Saturday.
Saunders says the situation is not all “doom and gloom” for Doncaster - but he has admitted he would settle for a nerve-jangling climax to Rovers’ fourth season in the Championship.
“I asked the players if they’d take going into the final two games of the season - against Coventry and Ipswich - needing to win one of them,” said Saunders.
“They said they would take it, and I would too.
“We’ve just got to make sure we finish fourth bottom and to do that the players have to show some belief in themselves and have some nerve.
“We’re all good players when we’re 2-0 up.
“Who wants the ball when we’re 2-0 down and the crowd wants to have a go at you?
“I’ll keep on fighting,” he added.
“And I’ll make sure the players keep on fighting.”
Following Tuesday night’s woeful 3-0 defeat to Millwall, Saunders admitted his players’ brittle confidence had taken another hit.
He said: “The Derby game did some damage, it knocked the stuffing out of us a bit.
“We’d lost one at home in five months and now we’ve lost two games that we thought we could win in quick succession.
“That’s obviously knocked a lot of confidence out of us but it’s not all doom and gloom.
“Expectations were lifted by the results we got prior to Derby coming here and I can understand the fans’ frustrations.
“But all is not lost.
“We’re four points behind with a game in hand.
“It’s a miles better position than we were in six months ago.
“We’re not going to suddenly start winning every game - there have been too many problems at the club for a long time.”
Rovers will be without Tommy Spurr for the rest of the season - and there are ongoing doubts about the fitness of Shelton Martis.
Spurr needs an operation on his broken hand.
Martis is nursing problems with his groin, calf and hamstring.