WHEN Paul Dickov makes his first return to Boundary Park today, he will be entitled to think that his fire-fighting skills honed at Oldham Athletic have come in useful at Doncaster Rovers.
Takeover uncertainty and limited resources ensured it was a testing summer for the Scot, but like his time in difficult circumstances in charge at Oldham, he refused to bemoan his lot.
He has since moulded Rovers into a competitive force and deserves much credit, according to midfielder Paul Keegan.
Keegan, who signed a new deal in August after playing on a short-term contract for most of the summer, said: “It has been hard because of everything that went on in the summer with the (failed) takeover. The manager has had a very hard job to do.
“Lots of the lads like Copps (James Coppinger) and Richie (Wellens) were also hanging on and did not know whether they were coming or going. Eventually, we got a team together and there is a relief people signed contracts.
“It looked like we had the basis of a team, but it was so late in the day we had to get the team together and playing together. It has been a very difficult job for the manager and I think he has done great by how he has got everyone in.”
A bonus for Dickov and Rovers could arrive if they negotiate a way past Oldham and are handed a plum third-round draw in the FA Cup.
That is a big incentive and Keegan added: “I think everyone loves the FA Cup.
“Playing at Weston-super-Mare had the potential for a game that could have gone wrong with us having to do back down. But we went back and did a good job.
“Oldham are a good team and playing very well and it will be very tough. But everyone is up for it and knows the potential of doing well in the cup and going on a run and the kind of spirit, enthusiasm and life behind the club it can bring.
“The beauty of the third round cup draw is that there is a chance of playing anybody and maybe coming up against a Premier League team and testing yourself. Can you prove yourself or beat a big team?”