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Paul Goodwin’s Doncaster Rovers column: Safety comes first for Rovers - but it’s important not to end this season with a whimper

Finishing the campaign strongly would give Rovers fans cause for optimism for next season.
Finishing the campaign strongly would give Rovers fans cause for optimism for next season.

It is really important Doncaster Rovers do not end this season with a whimper.

For a start, they are still not safe.

Three more wins from the last 11 games, which would take Rovers onto 51 points, should be enough to complete this season’s primary objective - consolidating League One status.

With six games to play against sides currently below them in the table, at least on paper, that should not be too problematic for Darren Ferguson’s men.

But just doing the very bare minimum would not really be a satisfactory way to go out for a squad that has designs on competing for a top six spot next term.

And it certainly would not go down particularly well with the fans who have still not forgotten nor forgiven the way Doncaster chucked away the League Two title last year by losing the last four games of an otherwise impressive campaign.

In some ways, after achieving the main goal of securing promotion at the first attempt, that late collapse was understandable from a psychological point of view after such a physically and mentally draining season.

But that did not make it any easier to stomach at Hartlepool on the final day and what it did do, again, was raise slight question marks about the mentality in the dressing room.

Would a more ruthless, edgier, arguably nastier team have handed a league title on a plate to one of their rivals in such a manner? The simple answer is no.

This Rovers team have an opportunity to right some of their wrongs, and answer back at those doubts, by ending this season on a high.

They have the opportunity to make a bit of a statement against two clubs heading for the Championship, Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic, who are both due at the Keepmoat Stadium.

And they still have a realistic chance of a top half finish. Now that would be a decent platform for pushing on next season.

I’m not one who fully subscribes to the belief that a good end to one campaign would generate momentum to take into the next one. This season is very much this season and next season is next season - separated by another important transfer window for the club if they are serious about progressing.

But, after a somewhat frustrating 2018 thus far, a strong end to this campaign would instil belief among players and supporters alike.

Certainly what Rovers cannot afford is another sloppy finish, and the sooner they get those three wins the better for everyone concerned.