Threat remains for Rovers by Paul Goodwin

Doncaster's John Oster gets to the ball before QPR's Heidar Helguson Picture: Andrew Roe
Doncaster's John Oster gets to the ball before QPR's Heidar Helguson Picture: Andrew Roe

Rovers go into the international break knowing they can’t afford to rest on their laurels in the battle to beat the drop.

There was no shame whatsoever in losing to a QPR side which has taken the Championship by storm.

But the defeat left Doncaster perching precariously just three places above the drop zone - the lowest league position they’ve occupied this season.

So there’s still plenty of hard work to be done when Rovers head into the business end of what’s been a somewhat troublesome campaign.

Two more wins from the final eight games should be enough to guarantee the team’s survival.

Reaching the 50-point mark would mean that Sheffield United, Scunthorpe or Preston would have to win at least five of their remaining matches to stand any chance of climbing above Rovers.

The probability of that happening - even though the Blades and North End are finally starting to show signs of life - is very remote.

And with home games against Crystal Palace and Preston to come, you would fancy Doncaster’s chances of pulling clear of danger well before the season ends at Middlesbrough on May 7.

This is a Rovers side, however, which has won just once in the last 11.

They’re battered, bruised and still bearing the scars of the club’s worst ever injury crisis.

And they face a tricky run-in which includes fixtures against six sides still involved in promotion and relegation issues, including high flying Cardiff City and a Leicester team who demolished them in December.

So there’s still that lingering uncertainty and nervousness about how this season could turn out.

It’s been a strange sort of season and one can only hope there isn’t a nasty sting in the tail.

But I’m backing the spirit of Doncaster to drag them away from danger.

That spirit, which shone like a beacon at Forest a fortnight ago, was evident again during the first half against Queens Park Rangers.

Rovers more than matched Neil Warnock’s well-drilled side and the impressive Franck Moussa went within inches of putting Doncaster ahead when his close range effort clipped the post.

I really fancied Rovers to come out and give Rangers a rough ride after the break.

But the timing of Hogan Ephraim’s goal really knocked the stuffing out of them - and the Londoners then did what they do best by soaking up everything Doncaster threw at them.

Rovers looked somewhat leg-weary as the game wore on.

They ran out of ideas going forward and they favoured the long ball far too often for my liking - perhaps a sign of mental tiredness.

So the international break has come at a good time and it’s a great chance for a squad that has been riddled with injuries to recharge its batteries ready for one big last effort.

One final push is all that is needed now - and the sooner Rovers can get the required points on the board, the sooner they can start planning for next term.

The big positive to come out of Saturday’s performance was the display of Moussa.

He seems to have come on leaps and bounds during the short time he has been at Rovers - and it’s a feather in Doncaster’s cap to keep him and Jason Euell at the club until the end of the season.

Moussa’s got great feet and he looked quite useful in a more central attacking role at the weekend.

He just needs to work on his final ball and his finishing.

With Moussa, Euell and James Hayter - perhaps all in tandem when Rovers go to Bristol City next time out - Doncaster should have enough firepower to ease themselves away from trouble.

However, I won’t rest easy until Rovers reach their half century.

Final position prediction: 19th