No case for the defence

ROVERS need to get on a Special K diet - and hope that Messrs Kilgallon and Keegan can give them their shape back!

Reading and Wolves have had Doncaster on toast during a calamitous week.

Rovers have not become a bad team overnight.

As bizarre as it sounds, there have been poorer performances this season than the Royals reverse and Tuesday’s taming by the Wolves.

But the quality of the defending has left a really bad taste - and it’s time for change.

Kilgallon’s debut performance against Reading was the only positive on a miserable afternoon at the Keepmoat.

The Sunderland man was accomplished and composed at the back and will only get better with the more games he gets under his belt.

He’s not the commanding and dominant figure that will singlehandedly shore up Doncaster’s dwindling defence - that needs to be a team effort.

But I expect an improvement on Saturday against Ipswich - because the defending really can’t get any worse than the last two games.

The three Reading goals were straight out of Billy Smart’s circus.

And the way Wolves were allowed to almost score at will - after a first half performance from Rovers that showed much promise - put another big boot into the team’s ailing confidence.

The manager has a big decision on his hands this weekend when he weighs up who to play alongside Kilgallon.

And it’s an equally big call whether to revert to three at the back or stick with his more favoured 4-5-1 structure.

But what Rovers need is a settled backline as quickly as possible.

The return of Mustapha Dumbuya can’t come quickly enough either - because that would free up James O’Connor to partner Kilgallon at the heart of the defence.

In my view that partnership would immediately instill more confidence, although it’d be wrong and unfair to point the finger of blame solely at Sam Hird and Adam Lockwood.

New recruit Paul Keegan might also find himself thrown it at the deep end at Portman Road.

Rovers need somebody just to sit and protect in midfield - and by all accounts Keegan has earned quite a reputation in the League of Ireland as an influential midfield general type.

Mark Wilson and John Oster were second best in the middle of the park after Reading’s first goal.

Similarly they were too easily bisected once Wolves got the bit between their teeth in midweek - and the two of them are crying out for a supporting hand in the engine room.

There’s more questions than answers at the moment and we’re at a point in the season where it could go one of two ways - up or down.

James Chambers and George Friend still look some way off the pace.

Neil Sullivan will look back at the last two games and probably think he could’ve done more to prevent at least two of the eight goals shipped.

Billy Sharp looks more frustrated than ever, while his strike partner James Hayter suddenly seems completely out of sorts.

But this is the time for the lads to stand up and be counted and rediscover the spirt - and their hunger.

Let’s have Ipswich and Barnsley for breakfast!

Ipswich 1 Rovers 1

Rovers 2 Barnsley 1