Doncaster Rovers are working to stay one step ahead of the game now they are no longer an unknown quantity in League One.
Darren Moore’s in-form team are at Bristol Rovers today, in the reverse fixture of October’s 2-0 victory.
Doncaster were still a relatively new team then, their squad almost entirely revamped since last season’s play-off semi-final defeat on penalties, and Moore only arriving late in pre-season after the departure of Grant McCann to Hull City.
Since then, Moore has worked hard to create an “identity” for his team and according to Ben Sheaf, they have won the respect of their rivals, meaning they have had to adapt again.
“Because we’re a good side teams have set up to stop us and it’s about finding different ways to manage that,” explained the midfielder, on loan from Arsenal.
Teams have looked at that and tried to stop it and now we’ve got to find other ways to combat that.Ben Sheaf
“You can’t always do what you want to do because teams stop you.
“The manager’s been clear with his ideas and way of paying since the day he arrived and I think we implemented that pretty well in a short space of time and made a name for ourselves in the way we played.
“Teams have looked at that and tried to stop it and now we’ve got to find other ways to combat that.
“You’ve also got to look at the conditions, the pitches get worse so you might not be able to play in risky areas, and take the opposition into consideration.
“We were an unknown prospect at the start of the season with a new manager and a new squad almost but halfway through the season teams know us.”
It has not stopped Doncaster winning three of their last four games, though Sheaf described the most recent victories, at home to Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town, as having been “ground out”.
They have put them two points outside the play-off places with the games in hand to get there.
Cameron John is back in training and rested up after a Christmas hamstring injury Moore put down to fatigue.
Doncaster are waiting to hear back after offering winger Kieran Sadlier a new contract in the face of reported interest from McCann’s Hull, amongst others.