Plymouth v Doncaster Rovers: Players facing ‘mental challenge’ with 950 miles on the coach

THE footballing demands of successive away trips in the space of four days to Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town speak for themselves for Doncaster Rovers.

Today, they face an Argyle side who convincingly beat Sheffield Wednesday in their last fixture at Home Park and are unbeaten in seven league matches since losing on the opening day of the season at Rotherham United.

On Tuesday, Rovers then travel to an Ipswich side who, by Richie Wellens’s own admission, will be nowhere near the relegation zone next Spring. They also got up and running with an excellent win at Lincoln City last weekend.

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Alongside the challenge on the pitch, Rovers players must contend with two round-trips to opposite ends of the country which will see them travel on a coach for around 950 miles.

Richie Wellens manager of Doncaster Rovers. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

It is yet another factor to negotiate in a hazardous start to the season for struggling Doncaster.

Wellens, who says that small groups of players will watch analysis footage of Plymouth at separate junctures during the long journey down to Devon, said: “Plymouth are fourth in the league and then we have Ipswich away, which in the table looks like a good game for us.

“But you see the quality Ipswich have got and there is no way they will be anywhere near the bottom at the end of the season.

“It is a mental challenge for us as probably six of our players will not have had as long an away trip as this (Plymouth) and come back with a long away trip on Tuesday.

“So they need to manage that in how they get the best out of themselves from Saturday and recover from that and prepare themselves the best for Tuesday.

“It is up to us to advise them and manage them and they also have to take it on board and see what works for them.

“It is how you use that time (on the coach).”