Saunders’s men are 11 points from safety with four games left and Rovers’ four-year stay in the second tier will end if they fail to record a first home win since January 2 against fellow strugglers Portsmouth on Saturday.
A home team sheet displaying nine changes from Saturday’s defeat at Leicester and winger Fabien Robert as the only one of Saunders’s signing in the XI prompted suggestions that a decision had been taken to jettison the raft of high-profile short-term signings brought in under the watch of agent Willie McKay.
But Saunders said. “The whole team’s injured. I don’t know how it’s fair that we can have a day to recover where Burnley have two.
“I’ve got some players where, if the game was (today), they might have been all right.
“We had a run of games Saturday, Tuesday, Friday and playing Leicester has finished a few of them off.”
On-loan Millwall winger Josh McQuoid netted his first Burnley goal with a superb 30-yard volley to give the visitors a half-time lead and Charlie Austin’s penalty 14 minutes from time sealed the points after Doncaster striker Chris Brown – who played despite failing a fitness test – levelled.
Clarets manager Eddie Howe was delighted with his team’s all-round display. “I think we could have won by a more comfortable scoreline, but in the end it’s a really good win,” he said.
Doncaster Rovers: G Woods, O’Connor, Lockwood, Hird, Friend, Bennett (Coppinger 46), Stock (Barnes 22), Gillett, Robert (Oster 87), Hayter, Brown. Unused substitutes: Sullivan, Bagayoko.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Wallace, Stanislas (McCartan 89), Marney, McCann, Ings, Austin, McQuoid. Unused substitutes: Jensen, Lafferty, Howieson, Hewitt.
Referee: N Miller (Durham).