Paul Goodwin: Doncaster Rovers must rediscover attacking spark to keep promotion dream alive

Mallik Wilks
Mallik Wilks

Doncaster Rovers’ front six must reignite if they are to stand any chance of turning their play-off tie with Charlton Athletic on its head.

Matty Blair’s late goal has kept things interesting ahead of tonight’s return leg at The Valley.

But the reality is that Rovers – and most importantly their potential matchwinners – must raise their game considerably to keep the promotion dream alive.

Grant McCann has argued that Sunday’s second half display was more representative of what this Doncaster side are capable of – more energy and verve.

But by then the Addicks had a firm stranglehold on the game and were more content to protect what they had.

Lee Bowyer could certainly lay claim to a tactical victory after his decision to play 3-5-2 prevented Rovers from doing what they did when these sides met in March and continually breaking on the Addicks.

The first leg was played almost exclusively in front of a very composed, physically imposing and well organised away side.

Mallik Wilks occasionally got in behind but also flattered to deceive at times. He wasn’t the only one.

Leading scorer John Marquis was well and truly snuffed out by the three centre backs.

James Coppinger was removed at half time, while key midfield duo Herbie Kane and Ben Whiteman continue to lack the spark they had before their recent spells on the sideline.

It hasn’t quite clicked going forward for a good few weeks now. Rovers’ only win in their last five games, against Coventry, was more workmanlike than wonderful.

McCann will not make any radical changes tonight but he must get players closer to Marquis and he might switch Wilks from right to left more frequently.

Rovers failed to score on recent trips to Sunderland and Luton. Tonight they simply have to be firing on all cyclinders.