DONCASTER ROVERS manager Paul Dickov says he will forever owe a debt of gratitude to his Huddersfield Town counterpart Mark Robins.
The pair are cutting a Championship niche at the Keepmoat Stadium and John Smith’s Stadium, respectively, but not so long ago – towards the start of this calendar year, in fact – they were both fighting considerable fires at League One strugglers Oldham Athletic and Coventry City, respectively.
Raging off-the-field problems at both clubs handed each a crash course in crisis management, with the ongoing rent dispute between the Sky Blues and Arena Coventry Ltd – the owners of the Ricoh Arena – leaving Robins to cope with a background of great financial uncertainty at the Sky Blues.
Dickov also had to handle considerable adversity at cash-strapped Oldham Athletic.
He saw three key members of staff placed on gardening leave on New Year’s Eve and others subsequently left and it was then that Robins still found time to do Dickov a favour despite his own problems.
On Robins, team-mates briefly with Dickov at Manchester City in 1999, the Rovers chief said: “I have known Mark a long time and have got a lot of time and respect for him because when I was at Oldham last season just after I’d lost all my staff, we played Coventry not long afterwards and we had no scouts to scout games and produce player reports.
“Mark was really helpful to us with that after we’d played them – and after they had beaten us!
“But you remember that and it was fantastic. I was trying to run a club on my own and any bit of help I could have got was fantastic for me. Mark helped me a lot.”
Another figure Dickov knows well at Town is in-form Championship player-of-the-month James Vaughan, whom he feels will continue to prove a nightmare for opposing defences as long as he stays fit.
Dickov added: “I played with Vaughany at Derby and he’s a threat.
“He’s quick and strong and, on a personal note, I am delighted for him. He had a lot of injury problems and is showing people now he’s the player everyone thought he was was going to be. As long as he stays fit, he’s going to be a right handful.”
Dickov is seeking a reaction from his Rovers’ side following a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth prior to the international break, a lethargic performance which he felt lacked energy.
It was untypical of Rovers so far in 2013-14, with their high-octane displays having been a feature of the first month of the campaign.
Dickov is anxious for a return to that sort of display.
He said: “When you get a defeat, you want a reaction. Not just from the players who played, but the whole squad.
“You want people knocking on your door wanting to get into your team and you want those who were in your team to show you on the training ground by their attitude and enthusiasm that they want to stay in the team as well.”