PAUL DICKOV COLUMN: No rest for the Rovers this Christmas

Paul Dickov
Paul Dickov

I was asked what I wanted for Christmas at yesterday’s press conference and two things immediately sprung to mind.

The obvious answer is three points tomorrow at Swindon.

But more than anything I want our home form to pick up.

Obviously the results against Notts County and Gillingham were disappointing but over the last two months we’ve started to show a bit more consistency in our play.

We now need to have that level of performance that we’ve had away from home at home - and I genuinely can’t wait for the Coventry game on Boxing Day to come round and to try and turn things round at the Keepmoat.

This time of year is always busy fixture-wise and it’s an opportunity to string a few results together and move up the table.

The Christmas period is no different now compared to what it was like 25 years ago when I was starting out as a player, and you get used to it.

I certainly won’t be going easy on the players.

We’ll be in training on Christmas Day. We play on Boxing Day and we’ll be training on the 27th and playing again on the 28th.

They might get a rest on the 29th if they’re lucky. Then we start building up to Bristol City in the FA Cup.

So it’s no different to any other year really - if I had Christmas Day off I wouldn’t know what to do with myself anyway!

The boys have worked hard this week and there’s a determination among everyone at this club to get things right, particularly at home, where we know results have not been good enough.

It’s another long trip this weekend but it’s a game we’re looking forward to.

Swindon are playing very well at the moment and they are a team I’ve got a lot of respect for, in terms of the way they play.

But our away form’s been really good lately and we’ll go down there with a lot of confidence.

They’ve got some good footballers, but so have we - and if we can keep things tight at the back and continue creating chances like we have been doing, I’m confident we can get a result.

The key is keeping a clean sheet. The way we have defended as a team has improved as the season has gone on and it’s important we keep those standards high at the County Ground.