Doncaster Rovers v Shrewsbury Town – Christmas No 1 not at forefront of Rovers’ minds

AFTER being informed that midfielder Taylor Richards did not even know that a win tonight could lift Doncaster Rovers top of League One, Darren Moore’s reaction was maybe not what you might expect.

Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Moore. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Instead of being bemused and even slightly disappointed, the Rovers chief was quietly content.

Moore – in marked contrast to ebullient former Doncaster owner John Ryan – is not someone who likes to shout things from the rooftops.

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He would never say that Rovers are ‘the Arsenal of the North’ for instance as Ryan once famously did.

FOCUSSED: Doncaster Rovers' Taylor Richards. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Moore will be conscious that three points tonight would put Rovers at the top of the table for Christmas. But he will not luxuriate in that fact if they do.

If his players do not get hyped about that fact, all the better.

If Doncastrians express pride on social media, Moore – a hugely popular figure among sports lovers in the South Yorkshire town where he has enjoyed some happy times in his football career thus far – will be happy for them.

His players and staff, however, won’t be paying too much attention.

TOUGH TASK: Shrewsbury Town manager Steve Cotterill. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Moore said: “I can understand and echo what it would mean for the town and supporters of the club as the love and support is there for the team.

“I am glad that what Taylor said – beknown to me – echoes my same message and hopefully it shows that there are not mixed messages. We just go about our business in the right way.

“For the fans and everyone looking in, it could be a wonderful moment.

“But I must reiterate that it will be a really tough game.”

Moore’s words are not hackneyed or overly cautious either.

Rovers may have won their last four league matches, but Shrewsbury, despite their lowly status in the table, are starting to turn heads under a vastly-experienced operator in Steve Cotterill, who is a stickler for organisation, discipline and hard work with his teams usually very difficult to beat.

Statistics reinforce this fact. The Shrews arrive in Doncaster on the back of fine away victories not so far from these parts at Lincoln City and Hull City.

They are wins which have resonated across League One and have been duly noted by Moore.

Rovers’ style and technical prowess has rightly been lauded this season with many viewing them to be among the division’s best footballing sides. The less obvious qualities of resolve have not necessarily been appreciated or highlighted.

They probably should be.

Earlier this season, Rovers showed their fortitude by way of keynote wins over Lincoln and Portsmouth following setbacks.

They also showed resolve to secure a late point at home to Sunderland and their response to their defeat at Grant McCann’s Hull at the start of December has been emphatic.

Moore commented: “Mentality is something we work on. Young players have to learn to develop that side of it and they have responded well to adversity and got the bit between their teeth.

“Whatever the result is, we try and stay consistent in our approach. Since the Hull game, the response has been excellent and we aim to move along that pathway and strive to get better.”

Having senior players who have been promoted with the club before in the likes of James Coppinger and Andy Butler helps in terms of reinforcing that message, alongside the presence of a captain of substance in Ben Whiteman.

Acknowledging that fact, Moore added: “Those three – to name a few and there are one or two others – share their load from a mental point of view.

“They are a good group here and it is really good to hear them around the training ground.”

Last six games: Doncaster WLWWWW; Shrewsbury WDDLWW.

Referee: J Oldham (Derbyshire).

Last time: Doncaster 2 Shrewsbury 0, January 7, 2020; League One.

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