DARREN FERGUSON is the first to admit that his Boxing Day managerial record leaves a fair bit to be desired – and could do with changing this afternoon.
Twelve months ago, Ferguson saw his Doncaster Rovers side beaten 1-0 at home by Scunthorpe United – whose ranks included Rovers captain Tommy Rowe – representing the third successive year that the Scot had suffered a loss on Boxing Day.
The bucking of that recent trend is in Ferguson’s thoughts today, although that sequence of defeats has not stopped him from adopting his same managerial policy in regards to Christmas Day training, with players given the day off to spend time with the families as they were at his former club Peterborough.
Ferguson, whose third-placed promotion-chasing side will be backed by a big following at Meadow Lane, said: “I do care about my Boxing Day record as I don’t like losing matches.
“I did give consideration and thought about it (Christmas Day training). But, at the end of the day, the work we do before is enough. Christmas Day is a day that players should spend with their families.
“I have won games on Boxing Day. But I have lost and drawn more than I have won. I have analysed every game and I don’t think it was because we gave the players a day off on Christmas Day. It is not as if they are going out night-clubbing or anything like that.”
Rovers face struggling opponents who are reeling following a morale-sapping seven-match losing streak, but Ferguson believes that the fixture has a banana-skin feel, moreso given the £3.5m takeover of County by Nottingham businessman Alan Hardy.
Ferguson added: “We want to focus on ourselves and not concentrate too much on them or their situation. That would be wrong and we want to continue the form we are in, in terms of winning five out of six and being in a good place.
“Notts County are clearly going through a bad run, but have an experienced person in charge in John (Sheridan), who I have a lot of respect for.
“They will know it will eventually turn. They may think it is a good game for them, playing against a team where there is perhaps no expectations to win because of our position and theirs and the run they are on.”
Last six games: Notts County LLDLLL Doncaster WWDLW.
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Last time: Notts County 2 Doncaster 1; April 25, 2015; League One.