IF upwardly-mobile Doncaster Rovers require any further incentive ahead of the busy Christmas and early New Year period, they should find it from the events of two seasons ago.
The mid-point of the 2016-17 campaign was a time when Rovers took the League Two promotion race by the scruff of the neck, winning seven games out of eight in an unbeaten streak stretching from mid-December in 2016 to the end of January, 2017.
It is a time that Matty Blair remembers well and while the threats at the top end of League One speak for themselves this term, gate-crashing the automatic promotion picture is not yet out of the remit of seventh-placed Rovers. They have taken seven points from the last nine available and are unbeaten in five matches in all competitions.
Blair said: “You look at the top four and you could probably argue that they would be the top four come this time of the season.
“But we still fancy our chances of kicking on. If we are going to have a Christmas rush that is a really positive one, then we will find ourselves right in the mix with them come the middle of the January, which is when it probably finishes.
“When it gets to then, you do not know where it is going to take you and what is going to happen.
“Momentum is massive and if we can have a good Christmas period and keep the momentum going, that will stretch into the second half of the season.”
Visits to face Saturday’s opponents in the West Country have certainly been productive in recent times for Doncaster, who have won on their last three trips to the Memorial Stadium.
All told, Rovers have won their last four appointments away from Doncaster against the Pirates, also famously beaten by the Yorkshire outfit in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at the Millennium Stadium in 2007.
Momentum is massive and if we can have a good Christmas period and keep the momentum going, that will stretch into the second half of the season.Doncaster Rovers’ Matty Blair