Doncaster Rovers: Return to Colchester is chance to show mental progress

Darren Ferguson was furious with Rovers performance at Colchester last season

Darren Ferguson was furious with Rovers performance at Colchester last season

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The quirks of the fixture computer have sent Doncaster Rovers to Colchester United for the second successive Good Friday.

While a long Bank Holiday on the road is not ideal for Rovers fans, the fixture provides an opportunity to reflect on just how far the team has come in 12 months.

Unquestionably, the 4-1 defeat at Colchester last season was the lowest point in a series of lows as Rovers slid towards League Two.

After establishing a 1-0 lead, they capitulated in a horrendous second half to a defeat which left them with a mountain to climb to avoid the drop.

They head back to the Colchester Community Stadium fresh from securing promotion back to League One, brimming with confidence that has oozed out of them throughout a brilliant campaign.

Boss Darren Ferguson’s primary aim last summer was to add strong characters to his squad in a bid to avoid the sort of fragility they showed at Colchester.

And he says with a look back to that sunny day in Essex, it is easy to see the difference between Rovers then and now.

“Last season we simply didn’t show the character we needed when things were going badly,” Ferguson told The Star. “Colchester was probably the worst example I can think of.

“There are others but we were 1-0 up in that game and there was a collapse, there was no question.”

Ferguson praised his current squad for the mental strength they have shown, in particular dealing with the tag of promotion favourites this season.

He said: “In terms of dealing with expectations for the team this season, they’ve been brilliant.

“I think that has been one of the biggest achievements they’ve had this season.

“The expectations were huge and they’ve never changed all season.

“We’ve all stuck strong together.

“Whenever we’ve suffered a defeat we’ve not lost the next one.

“They are all traits that when you look at teams who have been successful and say that is something you tick off.

“That has probably been the biggest thing they’ve shown this season.”