DONCASTER Rovers will have to cope without their newest recruit at Upton Park on Saturday.
Frederic Piquionne joined Rovers on an initial one-month loan from West Ham on Tuesday morning and announced his arrival in stunning style as they won the Championship basement encounter with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
The French striker gave Rovers the lead two minutes before the break with a spectacular 30-yard strike after he had collected the ball 10 yards inside his own half.
The 33-year-old will remain with Rovers until Monday, April 9 but he will not be eligible for Saturday’s visit to the Boleyn Ground.
Manager Dean Saunders, who saw his side climb off the bottom with the 2-1 win, said of Piquionne: “We knew he had got that in his locker. I looked the other way for a split second, looked back and the ball was in the net.
“It was a great strike. He was struggling fitness wise but he certainly made an impression.
“As a team, I thought we played really well and knocked the ball about great. In fact, it’s probably the best we have played since I’ve been at the club.
“It’s a massive result. I would have been happy if we had played terrible and won but the fact is that we did very well. We had to make sure that Forest didn’t go nine points clear of us but that brings it back to three and we have a game in hand.
“The goalkeeper (Carl Ikeme, on loan from Wolves) made a difference. He’s catching crosses under the crossbar and calming everything down.
“But we conceded a goal to a deflection and then we faced a terrible 15 minutes at the end but we dug in and got the result we deserved.”
After Piquionne’s bolt from the blue, Kyle Bennett added a second a minute after the break when he volleyed in a super cross by acting captain El-Hadji Diouf at the far post.
Forest got a goal back when Chris Gunter pulled the ball back for Dexter Blackstock to have a shot deflected over Ikeme.
Tony Mowbray promised better performances to come from his weary Middlesbrough side despite overseeing a convincing 2-0 victory over Barnsley.
Without the injured Kevin Thomson and Nicky Bailey as well as the suspended Rhys Williams, Mowbray installed Seb Hines into a central role, and he was on hand to head home Barry Robson’s corner with an hour played.
Bart Ogbeche emerged from the bench in the last five minutes and promptly added the second with a classy chip over Luke Steele.
“It was a difficult match. It’s been like that for most of the season. It’s torture standing there watching it and that’s the Championship. No-one makes it easy for you,” said Mowbray.
Keith Hill, whose Barnsley side are without a victory in four games, said: “I’m pleased with the performance, not the result.
“But the result wasn’t decided by the opposition, it was decided by individual errors. They’ll be forgiven, though, because they give me everything I expect from them.”