ANALYSIS: Pressing need for a striker laid bare as Doncaster Rovers draw at Rochdale

The task of replacing John Marquis was always going to be a difficult one for Doncaster Rovers.

Kieran Sadlier
Kieran Sadlier

Players that score 66 goals in three seasons do not grow on trees of course.

But it was always about more than goals when it came to Marquis at Rovers.

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Tireless running. Endless harrying. Sheer presence.

And as their hunt for at least one replacement for the striker continues, it is the latter of those attributes that Rovers are missing the most - something laid bare in the draw in the relentless Rochdale rain.

Kieran Sadlier's late, late equaliser got Rovers out of jail and ultimately earned them a point they fully deserved from a nip and tuck clash at Spotland.

But there remains plenty to address in recruitment terms - with the pressing need for an out-and-out striker firmly at the top of the agenda.

Since Marquis' departure, the task of leading the line has fallen to Sadlier - who has responded admirably with two goals in two games.

While being a dangerous attacking force of which plenty is expected this season, Sadlier is more accustomed to surging from deep and attacking the opposition head on.

What he lacks is the physicality to plant himself up against a defender, to go shoulder to shoulder with a centre half, to be the in-your-face sort of striker which Marquis relished being.

With an impressive, lively line of three supporting a single advanced forward, Rovers are desperate for someone to hold the ball up effectively.

Though he has the quality to bring team mates into play, Sadlier really should be part of that three.

Throughout a largely frustrating 90 minutes at Spotland, Rovers struggled to make the ball stick deep in opposition territory.

There was some bright attacking play from the start, with Rovers working the ball through midfield and into wide areas to match a Rochdale side keen to do the same themselves. In general play, there was the welcome sight of continued improvement under Darren Moore and evidence his wishes for the side are being met.

There was however a lack of quality with the final ball and also a lack of bodies in advanced areas to give Rochdale much to worry about.

The fact Rovers found themselves behind was as much down to misfortune as poor play. Aaron Morley curled in a cross from the left which bounced all the way through and nestled in the back of the net to break a deadlock that had looked steadfast.

It did look set to be a fruitless afternoon as Rovers continued to struggle for threat in the final third.

But Sadlier turned hero again, rising superbly to power home a header from a corner in stoppage time and rescue a point.

The protracted nature of Rovers' hunt for attacking reinforcements is only causing frustration to grow.

And while ever they continue to turn in toothless performances in the manner of Saturday's at Spotland, discontent will simply not die down - despite Sadlier's best efforts.