Saunders’ rallying call in Rovers battle against drop

On way back: 'Chris Brown can give us presence up front'.
On way back: 'Chris Brown can give us presence up front'.

DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders had hoped to be going to Elland Road on Saturday with the possibility of climbing out of the Championship relegation zone for the first time in four months.

However, following Tuesday’s 3-1 home defeat at home to promotion-chasing Blackpool, and Coventry’s win over Leeds United, the aim now is just to climb off the bottom.

Rovers will travel to Leeds seven points adrift of fourth bottom Bristol City, who picked up a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace in midweek, but Saunders remains defiant

“Seven points is retrievable; we have games in hand,” he said. “We’ve got to win games; it’s as simple as that.

“We’ve not got to worry about everybody else - we’ve just got to get our own house in order.

“We are in a relegation battle and we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and on we go. If we pick up three points on Saturday it is better than two draws. “

The Welshman is hoping that Rovers got the ‘ring rust’ out of their system against the Seasiders, and that it will be business as normal at Elland Road.

“I don’t think it did us any favours having had a fortnight off (due to two postponed games),” said Saunders. “We’d not been able to get on to the big pitch (at the training ground) and they’d played three games during that period.”

With Rovers having failed to score from open play for the fourth time in five games, Saunders admits that his charges need to be more clinical in front of goal.

“We probably had six or seven chances in the first half. But missing chances is like making mistakes at the other end and I’m not going to excuse the defending for the first two goals they scored,” he said.

“I’m just disappointed because things (other results) had gone well for us in the last fortnight and we’d been doing really well at home but we were just off the pace (on Tuesday).”

Rovers have been linked with Senegal keeper Bouna Coundoul, a free agent after finishing with Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls, and Saunders says he is still looking to boost his squad in several areas.

“I’m looking and I’m trying to improve us all the time,” he said.

“But because we don’t have a lot of money I’m probably going to have to try and look for someone on loan or out of contract and there is normally a reason for that as well.”

Saunders could soon have two ‘new’ players at his disposal - striker Chris Brown and midfielder Paul Keegan, who are both back in full training after long injury lay offs. “Chris hasn’t played while I’ve been here but I know about him,” said the Doncaster boss. “He’s not an out-and-out goal scorer; he’s got more to his game than that.

“He’s mobile and can hold the ball up and hopefully he can give us something. He’s a big lad and he’ll give us a bit of presence up front.

“He’s ready to play in a practice game when I can get one arranged, as is Paul Keegan.

“I like the look of him in training. He talks and he wants to win.”