MANAGER Darren Ferguson is adamant Doncaster Rovers today can once again display their resolve and resilience by bouncing back from a rare defeat in midweek.
The League Two leaders suffered a 2-1 loss at fellow promotion hopefuls Carlisle United, but remain three points clear thanks to Plymouth Argyle’s shock reverse against struggling Leyton Orient.
It was just the sixth time that Doncaster had lost in the league this term and Ferguson can take heart from how his side responded to those most recent setbacks.
A 2-0 defeat to Plymouth in early December, for instance, was followed by a 10-game unbeaten run that only ended with Tuesday’s loss at Brunton Park. Before that, Rovers went five games without defeat in the wake of October’s reverse at Blackpool.
“It happens,” said Ferguson when asked about the need to respond to the midweek setback when Luton Town head to the Keepmoat Stadium today.
“The run we had been on since our last defeat was outstanding. We have bounced back from defeats very, very well. It will be a tough game against a very good team, who beat us down there.
“When you come back after a defeat, it maybe adds to the atmosphere. Let’s get it right, though, it is one defeat in 11. There is no doom and gloom.
“If we win, we go 14 points ahead of Luton (who sit just below the automatic promotion places), that is a huge gap. Up to now, we should be pleased and delighted with where we are at.
“If we continue like that, we have a hell of a chance. Plus, if we can have another run like we had after our last defeat (to Plymouth), games will then be running out.”
Rovers held a team meeting at their training ground earlier this week to assess a season that is now into the final third.
Ferguson made a point of stressing his satisfaction at how well Doncaster have done in the quest to claim an instant return to the third tier.
Amid the bouquets, however, was a clear message that there is still much to do – starting with today’s game with fourth-placed Hatters.
“I have seen Luton myself against Cheltenham so we know what they are like,” he added.
“They are a good team, as you would expect if someone is up there after 30 games of the season. It will be a very good football match and one I am looking forward to. We are top of the league and it is a big game for both us and for Luton.”