Paul Goodwin: Meandering Doncaster Rovers need a shot in the arm at Barnsley

Richard Chaplow celebrates scoring a last gasp winner against Barnsley in October.
Richard Chaplow celebrates scoring a last gasp winner against Barnsley in October.

There is currently a very obvious lull in the season and Rovers need a shot in the arm at Barnsley this weekend.

Any hopes of reaching the play-offs have steadily disintegrated over the last month, and you sense that has had a psychological effect on performances since the turn of the year.

Rovers have lost their edge, the intensity has waned considerably.

But if this squad of players think there is nothing left to play for - which the insipid performance against Sheffield United worryingly seemed to suggest - they have another thing coming.

The situation at the wrong end of League One, with Rovers hovering six points above the drop zone, is far from panic stations.

Putting it frankly, if Doncaster can’t muster enough points between now and the end of the season to survive then they don’t deserve to remain in League One.

However, if the current run of five league games without a win is allowed to linger on much longer, things could start to get a little nervy.

And it is not just securing third tier status that these players are playing for between now and May. Several of them need to convince Ferguson they are worthy of keeping on.

The win-less runs needs nipping in the bud and Saturday’s trip to Oakwell would be the perfect time to do it. Rovers fans are owed a performance, and a result, after last weekend’s diabolical display against the Blades.

The least you expect in any game, let alone a local derby, is for players to ‘have a go’.

There was a lackadaisical feel about both teams to be fair, but the way Rovers huffed and puffed in the second half and continually looked bereft of ideas in the final third will have been a cause of serious concern for Ferguson.

It feels a bit like back to the drawing board at the moment, and Fergie has a big dilemma this weekend whether to stick with three at the back, play the midfield diamond or try something slightly different.