Jack Ross and his Doncaster counterpart Grant McCann have been speaking to the press ahead of this afternoons match.
Ross is aware that performances have been poor of late and form has dipped. But he is keen to stress that automatic promotion is still in his player’s hands and is aiming to win every game between now and the end of the season. He told the media at his pre-match press conference;
“The season has been emotionally draining for everybody involved in the club and the journey we've been on over the last eight or nine months,”
“But if you strip it back and look at where we're at, what lies ahead and what we could possibly achieve, the truth is we've got five games left and if we win them then we still achieve it.
“The margin for error is obviously less because of the last couple of games but such is the nature of the season - not just for us but the other teams at the top - then I would imagine there will still be some twist and turns over the remaining fixtures.
He continued, discussing how emotions are perhaps showing more than they should during recent performances.
“I certainly felt that last Saturday, although, obviously the way the game panned out probably added to that, but certainly I think pre-match you felt that added intensity for the game. That happens when you're chasing the prize. What we have to be careful of is we don't get drawn into playing in a manner where we lose control of our emotions.
“You have to play with emotion and be passionate about what you do but I think we've shown that we've got that in the group - even how we performed to come back (against Coventry),
“But we have to keep making good decisions and I think in the last couple of games we've maybe lost a little bit of control.
“I take my responsibility for that in terms of controlling the game and controlling some of the decisions within it, whereas because of the record we've had at the stadium this season, we've controlled other games and had more of a grip on them, which has allowed us to win games.”
Rovers boss Grant McCann hopes his players use playing in a big stadium in front of a big crowd as motivation to get them to the Championship next season, as they would regularly find themselves in such venues if they are part of the lucky three to win promotion at the end of the season.
“It is where we want to be, these are the sort of stadiums you want to be playing in, week in and week out. You only manage that if you get promoted to the Championship. That has been our remit from day one. We want to go to stadiums with 38-40,000 fans there. It would happen at home too. We would fill this place every week in the Championship.”
What could go down?
A hell of a game of football which ends with Sunderland securing an emphatic win over a competitive Doncaster side with any luck! But unfortunately I don’t write the script week in, week out.
Anything could happen in all honesty, I’m expecting Jack Ross to make a number of changes to the side after last weekend’s calamity. A new central defensive pairing and central midfield two is a must and Will Grigg’s ‘fire’ seems to be struggling to burn at the minute. If Sunderland can hold it together, put Wyke and Morgan into dangerous positions then we have every chance of coming away with a victory.
Shutting down the highly influential midfielder Herbie Kane who is on loan from Liverpool will go a long way to disrupting the Donny attack. Big top goal scorer John Marquis is back in the frame following a concussion and will be looking to get on the end of anything that dangerous winger James Coppinger manages to get into the area.
After last weekend which saw Sunderland’s unbeaten home record come to an end I’m struggling to predict the line-up never mind what might happen. If I was a player id be wanting to atone for the disappointing defeat which has dented confidence and is threatening the team’s ambitions for promotion.
So taking this into account I’m hoping Sunderland can get the promotion run in right back on track with a 2-1 win over an in-form Donny. Ha’way the lads!