Doncaster Rovers: Stuckmann hoping for chance to smile after Vale

Thorsten Stuckmann is hoping for an easier return outing against Port Vale tonight

Thorsten Stuckmann is hoping for an easier return outing against Port Vale tonight

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It may have been an afternoon to forget for the team but Thorsten Stuckmann felt he reached new heights personally when Doncaster Rovers visited Port Vale earlier this season.

Rovers lost 3-0 on that August afternoon in what was arguably their worst performance of the season to date.

But there could so easily have been a much wider margin of victory for Vale if it was not for the heroics of Stuckmann, who saved a penalty among a series of superb stops.

While the rest of the players would prefer to consign the defeat to deep and distant memory, it was rather a memorable afternoon for the big German keeper - even if he could not revel in it.

“For me personally, it was probably the best half of football I’ve played in my career that first half,” Stuckmann said. “I get paid for saving shots. It was one of my best performances and I was quite happy with it.

“But if you lose 3-0, you can’t smile when you come back in just because you saved a penalty and saved a few shots.

“That’s not how team sports work. It wasn’t good enough as a team.

“I think that was one of the worst performances for the whole season and we definitely have a point to prove this time.”

The matter of proving a point against Vale is not something that has been discussed openly among the Rovers squad according to Stuckmann.

But the 34-year-old is confident there will be a determination in each player to set the record straight.

He said: “If you ask everyone who was involved in that game, that was a really bad performance.

“We have to prove a point, especially to all of our supporters that travelled that day.

“We haven’t spoken about it but I’m sure if we did, everyone would say what I have.

“We don’t want to give any more points to Port Vale. They have had three from us at their place so they can’t have another three.”

Standing between the posts is a lonely position, particularly when all is not going well outfield where your ability to influence events is minimal.

But Stuckmann insists he does not get frustrated in a scenario like the away trip to Vale as he knows there are times when he needs the support of his team mates.

And he feels the Rovers squad is now better prepared to drag each other through tough times.

“I couldn’t really think about frustration because I was so busy,” Stuckmann joked about the last game with Port Vale.

“You think about helping the team. I have to pull off saves, I am there to help them.

“Sometimes I may throw one in, like the second goal at Coventry, and the team helped me out.

“It’s a team sport. If one is not performing, the rest of the team needs to drag them through.

“I think especially in the last few weeks we’ve shown that character and the team bonding to get us through.”