‘We need to turn the screw’: Doncaster Rovers improvement demanded ahead of Tranmere Rovers test

Grant McCann says Doncaster Rovers must improve their away form if they are serious about challenging for promotion.
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Doncaster have improved on their own patch after a slow start to the season with four wins from their last four games at the Eco-Power Stadium.

But they have lost six of their eight away matches in all competitions to date this term and have failed to keep any clean sheets on the road.

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“We need to turn the screw on the away form,” said McCann ahead of tonight’s trip to Tranmere Rovers, who have picked up all of their points this season at Prenton Park.

Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann.Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann.
Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann.

"We are showing signs of progress, I think back to games where we should have taken something – MK Dons, Wrexham, Stockport.

"We are in games. And we know in those moments and spells in games we have to score. We didn’t quite do that in those games.

"I think it will turn a little bit, like our form.

"If we are going to be serious - and we still are – about being in and around that top seven home form doesn’t just get you there. We need to be good away from home as well.”

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Doncaster have also transformed their fortunes in front of goal in recent weeks, netting at least twice in seven of their last eight games.

But keeping teams out more regularly remains an area for improvement, with just three clean sheets in 17.

McCann, whose side conceded with the last kick of the match in last weekend’s 4-1 win over Sutton United, said: “(Against Sutton) we just went away from everything we were doing for 93, 94 minutes for a five-minute spell.

"That’s frustrating. You work so hard to get that clean sheet. I don’t know if there was a point where the players went ‘we have got it’ and switched off.

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"That’s something we have to eradicate. There have been one or two times this season where that’s cost us, particularly away from home.”

McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne will be reunited with their former Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins tonight.

Adkins remains in interim charge of 21st-placed Tranmere – two places below Doncaster – following Ian Dawes’ dismissal last month.

He had been the club’s technical director since joining them in May.

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McCann, who would go on to replace Adkins at Hull City, said: “I learnt a lot off Nigel and working with him gave me the inspiration to go into coaching.

“He has that edge about him that maybe people don’t see, in the changing room.

"He probably didn’t think he’d find himself in the hot seat this season. I’m sure he’s enjoying it like he used to.

"Cliff was his captain for a large period of time, we are all quite close.”

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Adkins confirmed one of McCann and Byrne’s former teammates, veteran goalkeeper Joe Murphy, now 42, will start in goal tonight.

He said: “Grant McCann is a very, very intelligent young coach who has done really well and has still got a bright future in the game.”