Make them hurt - Dean

Impressed: The manager was pleased with George Friend's performance.                      Picture: steve parkin
Impressed: The manager was pleased with George Friend's performance. Picture: steve parkin

NEW Doncaster boss Dean Saunders will be looking to build on a dream start to life at the Championship club on Saturday, when Rovers beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to claim their first win in 20 league games, against Hull City.

“I would have paid money for that result; it was exactly what we wanted,” he said ahead of tonight’s home game against the high-flying Tigers.

Still out: Tommy Spurr.

Still out: Tommy Spurr.

“The players had been down in the dumps and had not won for 19 games and I didn’t care how we got the result on Saturday we just had to get three points, and we did.

“The team had hit a bad patch and I came in as a new manager.

“I hadn’t gone 19 games without a win so my mind was quite clear and I was positive about winning. That’s why sometimes a new manager has an affect on players.

“They were a bit nervous in the first part of the game and when that happens a simple pass becomes difficult for good players.

“But I know most of them and they are good players.”

Saunders was critical of Rovers’ first half display in his post-match press conference, but admitted: “When I looked at the DVD again we were better than I thought we were (on the day).

“We stopped Crystal Palace playing, which is why we kept a clean sheet, and in the second half we relaxed and started passing the ball and we could have had three or four goals.

“I know the previous manager did a terrific job and taught the players to play football. Like every manager he hit a bad patch and the team was in a bit of a rut and I suppose that’s why I’ve been brought in to try and turn it around.

“Things need changing for me; every manager does it differently and it’s not a case of right or wrong. What’s been going on here for a long time has been right.

“The players will get a chance to show me what they can do but I’ve told them they’ll all have to be patient.

“The boys who got the shirt on Saturday were the lucky ones; they got the first bite. The fact that we kept a clean sheet on Saturday will make it easier for me defensively when it comes to picking the team.”

Saunders’ options to make defensive changes, however, are limited by the fact that left-back Tommy Spurr, who could be out for some time, will again be missing.

He moved skipper George Friend, who started as a left-back before being converted to a centre-back by previous boss Sean O’Driscoll, and was impressed by his performance.

One of the dilemmas set to face Saunders today is does he make changes in midfield and does he find a place in the 16 for record signing Billy Sharp, who made a surprise appearance off the bench in the second half on Saturday?

Sharp came through a testing training session on Sunday. Saunders, who plans to bring fitness coach Mal Purchase, and his No 2 at Wrexham, Brian Carey, in this week, is expecting a tough game against seventh-placed Hull.

“I’ve watched them play and they are a really good team,” he said.

“They have got some good strikers and they all work hard, the manager has got them organised and they are going to be hard to play against.

“So we’ve got to turn up and stop the ball going into our net. I want the players to pass the ball but we’ve got to hurt teams as well.”