Paul Goodwin’s Verdict: Rovers have a point to prove back in League One

Rovers' Rob Jones shouts his orders against York. Picture: Andrew Roe
Rovers' Rob Jones shouts his orders against York. Picture: Andrew Roe

HAVING retreated to the familiar surroundings of the old Third Division, the players, management and board at Doncaster Rovers are all out to prove a point this season.

Relegation dents your pride, knocks your confidence. But adversity can also make you stronger.

And after a throughly miserable last 18 months or so, Rovers have to bounce back from their relegation hangover right from the outset if they are to avoid another season of struggle.

The importance of momentum and confidence simply cannot be underestimated; Doncaster need to hit the ground running at Walsall and get last season’s woes out of their system for good.

Physiologically, extra-time was the last thing Dean Saunders wanted for his wafer-thin squad against York City.

Psychologically, the penalty shoot-out victory was the perfect way to start the campaign.

Rovers remembered that winning feeling again, while the light-hearted nature of the success put a collective smile back on people’s faces.

There was a notably more relaxed atmosphere around the ground on Saturday too.

And the absence of the tension, depression and constant rumour-mongering about the role of Willie McKay, dressing room splits, boardroom fall-outs and such like - which seemed to strangle the club last season - should only help Dean Saunders and his squad.

The slate has been wiped clean. This is a fresh start for Saunders and his new-look team.

However, last season’s troubles won’t have completely escaped the minds of those that matter most.

The board will be keen for Saunders to prove that their decision to employ him was the right one.

Saunders is still aiming to win over the section of supporters still mourning the loss of Sean O’Driscoll’s brand of tiki-taka.

While the playing squad is packed full of personal challenges; be it proving they should be playing at a higher level, proving their injury problems are behind them or proving they are up for a scrap in League One.

After taking something of a pummelling in certain quarters for the way they went down last season, Doncaster Rovers are out to prove that they are once again a club very much on the up.

But the only way to achieve that is not by making the matchday pies tastier, it is by getting results on the pitch. That is what really matters to supporters.

Sadly for Rovers, it is still a case of the players getting to know each other as they head to the Bescot Stadium this weekend.

Preparation has been far from perfect.

That makes a perfect start unlikely - but Rovers will make their point against Walsall and should get the better of Bury next Tuesday.

Walsall 1 Rovers 1; Rovers 1 Bury 0