ALARM bells were ringing at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday.
The loud and unexpected siren that went off during the game came on a day that also served as an early warning about the long and arduous season ahead.
Rovers visibly tired as a bruising encounter with Crawley Town wore on and reached a frustrating conclusion.
And they appeared still somewhat battle weary in the early stages of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup cliffhanger against Hull.
Then came a ‘Hull’ of a comeback.
It was the sort of Rovers recovery not seen for many a year; one that put the pride back into Doncaster Rovers and one that epitomised the spirit that Dean Saunders is building.
It was also a clear indication of Rovers’ potential, as a makeshift side left a team expected to be challenging at the top end of the Championship wondering what had hit them.
But there is a catch.
Saunders’ high intensity approach - one based on honest graft, closing down and not shirking any tackles - is sure to test Rovers’ wafer-thin squad to the limit.
Despite the best efforts of fitness guru Mal Purchase, injuries and tired legs are an inevitable consequence.
Rovers found an extra gear against Hull, roared on by a loyal and vociferous 3,000 home fans, which they failed to find against Crawley.
But how many times can Rovers produce that sort of energy-sapping display like they did to tame the Tigers, and then reproduce it with the same core of players three days later?
With League One pacesetters Yeovil set to provide another stiff test this weekend, Rovers need brains as well as brawn over the coming months - or they need to invest in a few more players to share the workload.