Gary McSheffrey pleads for Doncaster Rovers perspective on start to the season but admits half-measures must stop

Unbeaten at Brunton Park, Carlisle United are in the League Two play-off places and happy with their start to the season. Their guests on Saturday, Doncaster Rovers, are outside them, but only on goal difference, but there are murmurings of discontent.

"It's perspectives really," says Gary McSheffrey.

The Cumbrians were 20th last season, Rovers relegated from the level above, but manager McSheffrey believes his side's campaign has been better than made out, even if they need to start dragging first-half performances up to the level of second-half ones.

"They've had an excellent start, haven't they?" he says, pointedly, of Carlisle. "We're on level points.

PERSPECTIVE: Doncaster Rovers manager Gary McSheffreyPERSPECTIVE: Doncaster Rovers manager Gary McSheffrey
PERSPECTIVE: Doncaster Rovers manager Gary McSheffrey
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"We've got to respect the opposition, they're hard to beat, but everybody loses at home at some point."

The 1-1 draw with leaders Leyton Orient, then Tuesday's 4-2 home defeat to Barnsley in the Football League Trophy, highlighted what needs to be brushed up.

"We just need to build on second-half performance levels and add it in the first halves," argues McSheffrey. "We've pulled back a lot of times to win and draw, we've got to try and get a 90-minute performance on a more consistent basis.

"In (Tuesday's) first half we tried to play some good football but we got caught on a couple of turnovers, a couple of individual errors, and their finishing was really clinical. The penalty save late in the half was Louis (Jones)'s first save and we were four down.

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“We got punished for their ruthlessness in finishing and the second-half performance was more to the level.

"It's about mentality and starting well, not having to be a goal or two down to react at half-time, me not having to make triple changes to get reactions.

"We want clean sheets, to be a bit harder to beat.

"But we're still up with teams who class themselves as having excellent starts to the season."

Midfielder Ben Close says: "I think we've showed some real promise, some real good moments but there's been negative moments.

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"We'd like to be higher if possible but we're still in a good position. We want to improve every game, even games we've won."

Kieran Agard is back after food poisoning but Aidy Barlow and Reo Griffiths are unlikely to feature.