Doncaster Rovers suffered a bad defeat at Ipswich Town on Tuesday but manager Richie Wellens has told his team they cannot afford to let it linger.
Bottom-of-League-One Rovers lost 6-0 for the second time this season. The other was a Football League Trophy game at home to Rotherham United, which Rovers followed with a 2-1 defeat at title-chasing Wigan Athletic, then winning their first games this season back-to-back.
Having put pressure on himself with emotional post-match comments suggesting he was considering his future, Wellens needs a positive response at home to Milton Keynes Dons this afternoon.
“Two weeks ago we won our first home game against Morecambe, we then won against Manchester City (Under-21s), and then we had a really, really good performance at Plymouth where we should have won so let’s not then have one result impact our next four, five, six games,” said the former midfielder.
“I got a nice message off someone who used to run this football club saying they got beaten by Ipswich at home 6-0 (in February 2011) and the club responded well and recovered from that. You respond from any loss, whether it be 6-0 or 1-0, you fight, you make sure you do your homework and respond in the right way.
“I’ve been beaten 7-0 as a player, away at Barnet (with Blackpool in 2000). We played Barnet six months later, we beat Barnet (3-2), they got relegated and we got in the play-offs. It’s about character.”
Ipswich’s squad ought to be far better than Doncaster’s given their respective budgets but as Wellens points out, talent is only part of the equation.
“Quality’s a very small part of football - if you’ve got the fighting spirit and the capabilities not to let things that happen in the game change your mentality that will take you a longer way than ability alone,” he said.
“Take away Tuesday and we’ve been in every single game with a lot of under-23 players. After the international break we will have Cameron John and Jon Taylor definitely back fit so that should improve our situation.”
Joe Olowu is out and Tom Anderson a doubt with suspected concussion from Tuesday, raising questions about the game’s protocols. Both passed on-pitch tests but some want temporary substitutes so players can be properly assessed away from it at greater length. Football only allows additional permanent changes.
“On 62 minutes Tom Anderson got the ball flush in his face and he was in a bad way,” said Wellens. “When we watched the video back there were certain areas of the pitch where he didn’t know what was happening and the same with Joe Olowu.
“Chats (Jonathan Chatfield) is an experienced physiotherapist that knows his job and both of them passed the initial concussion tests, both of them passed after the game but you can have a delayed reaction.”
Former midfielder Paul Green has returned to the club as a fitness coach, replacing the departed Rob Lee, who could now be reunited with Darren Moore at Sheffield Wednesday.