Darren Ferguson says Rovers’ primary objective is to keep their season alive - and the best way to do that is a derby day triumph.
The recent disappointing run of form plus the postponement of the trip to Scunthorpe United last weekend has seen Rovers slip 11 points off sixth place in League One.
While Ferguson admits a play-off push is now ‘unrealistic’ he insists Rovers owe it to the supporters to battle on.
And he has implored his players to take that battle into the South Yorkshire double header with Barnsley and firstly Sheffield United at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday.
“We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t peter out for us,” Ferguson told the Free Press.
“That’s for us and most importantly for the fans.
“It’s really important we keep going.
“We’re 11 points off the play-offs. It’s unrealistic. But we’ve not really mentioned it, I’ve got to be honest.
“We’re just focused on getting as many points as we can.
“We’ve got two derbies coming up quickly and those are the games you want to get points in because it means so much to the fans.
“It’s something I’ve spoken about and we will again.”
Ferguson feels everyone in League One can take inspiration from Barnsley, who have risen from bottom of the table to tenth since New Year’s Day with seven consecutive league wins.
And he believes Rovers were capable of a similar run of form, had they not picked up injuries to key players over the last month.
“I do believe if we’d have kept everyone fit, we’d have done a similar thing,” he said.
“It just broke the consistency of the team.
“But we’ve got everyone back now and hopefully we can get back to a level where we were around the Stoke game.”
Ferguson says he will have a fully fit squad from which to choose for the visit of Sheffield United.
Andy Butler, Cameron Stewart, Nathan Tyson, Conor Grant and Thorsten Stuckmann are all set to return.