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Rovers must put creativity right in Wimbledon clash: Schofield

10 March 2023

Interviews

Rovers must put creativity right in Wimbledon clash: Schofield

10 March 2023

Head coach Danny Schofield insists Rovers have little margin for error in the bid for a top seven finish as they prepare to welcome AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

Recent form has seen Rovers drop away from the play-off places and while Schofield says there is plenty enough games remaining in order for them to stake a claim, consistent winning form is required from here on in.

Schofield on the importance of the Wimbledon game:

“Over the last few games we’ve seen ourselves drift away from it in terms of the distance between ourselves and the play-off positions.

“We have 12 games left and the season is far from over so it’s victories we need. We need to perform to a level that allows us to win football games and get points on the board if we have any hopes of salvaging what is left of the season.”

On his message to the team:

“We reflect on the players and push them with what we can improve on from that game. Off the back of the Stockport game, which was a real hard-fought draw, I saw a real togetherness and a different way of getting a point, which is needed in football.

“We had a really good feeling and an optimism heading into the game but it just didn’t happen. We reflected on it, we spoke to the players over the last couple of days and picked the bones out of the performance. We’ve got to move on quickly with positivity to Wimbledon and that’s a process we always go through.”

On the reasons for inconsistency:

“You always try to reflect on your positive performances. The three games that we won consecutively were really positive. We didn’t concede any goals.

“When you analyse the games, I don’t think with any of the goals that we have conceded that teams have built play against us in a certain manner or created really good passages of play. I think it’s more been the fundamental parts of football. We’ve conceded three goals from set pieces in the last few games, we’ve not won first or second contacts and the ball has dropped to create a chance.

“It’s the key moments and the key details that we need to be better at and then we’ll be more competitive.”

On the formation used:

“You can be aggressive in any sort of formation. It’s just where you deploy the players. The formation which was played when we’ve had the positive performances and victories, I don’t think it has been questioned. But when the results aren’t positive, it’s obviously questioned.

“Everything is considered on performance - what team you can pick, the players you can select and the positions you can deploy them in to make an impact in attack and defence. These are conversations and discussions we have had.

“I’ve said before about formations and shapes that it’s not something I focus on. It’s more about principles based in defence and attack. This is what is part of my vision

“It’s the consistency word that keeps arising - and probably more from my mouth than anybody else’s. I’ve seen lots of positive play in our performances over a period of time which give me optimism and confidence the players here can perform to a really good level. It’s just about getting them doing it on a more consistent basis.

“Is it down sometimes to confidence dropping when goals aren’t going in and not the capability of the player? It is there and we can do it but the confidence suffers sometimes when you’re not scoring goals.

“I agree that in the last three games we’ve not created as many opportunities as we’d have liked and which allow us to win a football game. Previous to that I really felt chances were being created - and the first half at Sutton really stands out more than any other. We lost the game but chance creation was high.

“Over the last three games it’s been a concern of mine and something we need to put right for the Wimbledon game.”

On having supporters on board:

“It’s one of our aims because supporters are a massive part of the football club here at Doncaster Rovers. As far as I am aware of, it’s about improving performances, creating chances and winning football games.

“If you don’t win games, no matter the performances, supporters become disillusioned. It’s performances and results that will increase that support I think.”

On the health of the squad:

“Joseph Olowu wasn’t too serious. He took a knock on the side of his hip. He wasn’t on the training pitch on Thursday but he’s been assessed and he’ll be available for selection - just a bit sore.

“Ro-Shaun Williams is still recovering from his shin injury. It was something he was continuing to play with and it’s caused a bit of a problem. The kind of person and character he is, he was continuing to play and it just flared up until it became a lot more painful. E’s not been on the training pitch since the injury and he’s been doing work in the gym, nothing weight-bearing and running on the Alter-G machine which takes the body weight away. He’s steadily progressing.”

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