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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Roberts seeks Doncaster upturn
By Mark Mitchener

Gareth Roberts
Once we've got that first win, I think we'll kick on and move up the table

Gareth Roberts
Defender Gareth Roberts is confident that Doncaster can kick-start their season - after taking just one point from their first three league games.

"We've got 43 games to go, and I think we're close to doing what we want to do," the left-back told BBC Sport.

"Once we've got that first win under our belt, I think we'll kick on and move up the table.

"But if you concede silly goals like we did against Bournemouth on Saturday (when they lost 2-1), it'll cost you."

Rovers had led the Cherries through Gordon Greer's first goal for the club before Mark-Alain Gradel and Jo Kuffour's goals ensured the points went south.

"We were very disappointed not to come away with anything as we'd worked hard all week on what we wanted to do, but let ourselves down with probably the two most stupid goals that we'll concede all season," Roberts said.

606: DEBATE
"The first was embarrassing as the lad (Gradel) hooked in a cross which everyone missed and it went in.

"Then, in the last 20 minutes, we maybe went too direct too early and stopped playing football, when we might have been better to keep passing it around and creating opportunities that way.

"We've created a few things, but hadn't really made the goalie make a save, so it's so frustrating that two rubbish goals like that have cost us."

Wales international Roberts moved to South Yorkshire from Tranmere last summer, and over the festive period, Doncaster left their old ground at Belle Vue for the 32m Keepmoat Stadium.

"It's a great stadium, and the pitch is great to play on," Roberts said.

On paper we've got one of the strongest squads in this league

Gareth Roberts
"The fans were a bit closer to the pitch at the old ground, but when they get behind us here it's brilliant."

After the stadium move, Rovers won last season's Johnstone's Paint Trophy, beating Bristol Rovers at the Millennium Stadium - but finished a frustrating 12 points short of the play-offs.

However, boss Sean O'Driscoll strengthened the squad during the summer, raiding his old club Bournemouth to sign striker James Hayter for 200,000.

He also signed established League One midfielders Richie Wellens and Martin Woods from Oldham and Rotherham, as well as capturing centre-back Greer from Kilmarnock and signing ex-Scotland keeper Neil Sullivan from Leeds after a successful loan spell last season.

But it has been a stop-start season for Rovers so far - with a comfortable 4-1 Carling Cup win against Lincoln their only victory so far.

"I thought it was a good point at Millwall on the opening day, as we were the better side but just couldn't score," Roberts said.

"But it was disappointing to lose at Hartlepool last week when we should have got a draw.

"The new players have added to the team, and they'll make a difference over the season.

Doncaster celebrate after winning the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in March 2007
Rovers lifted last season's Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Cardiff
"I think it's a very strong squad, on paper it's one of the strongest squads in this league. But at the moment, we're not there, so we'll keep working and hopefully that'll come.

"Brian Stock and Graeme Lee are out injured at the moment but they're big players for us, as is Kevin Horlock who's been out for a long time. The sooner they get back, the better."

Rovers' next task is a long trip south to Plymouth on Tuesday in the Carling Cup - a competition in which they have enjoyed plenty of recent success.

Last season, they beat Premier League-bound Derby at Belle Vue in the second round, triumphing in a marathon penalty shoot-out after the Rams had battled back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3.

And in 2005/06, former boss Dave Penney helped Rovers overcome Manchester City on penalties in round two, beat Aston Villa 3-0 in round four, and they finally bowed out on penalties to Arsenal in the quarter-finals after they had led twice.

"This club always seems to do well in the League Cup, so we'll go down to Plymouth and give it our best shot," Roberts said.

SEE ALSO
Doncaster boss rues 'silly goals'
26 Aug 07 |  Doncaster
Doncaster 1-2 Bournemouth
25 Aug 07 |  League One
Hartlepool 2-1 Doncaster
18 Aug 07 |  League One
Doncaster 4-1 Lincoln
14 Aug 07 |  League Cup
Doncaster 0-0 Millwall
11 Aug 07 |  League One
Bristol Rovers 2-3 Doncaster AET
01 Apr 07 |  Football
All change at Doncaster
22 Dec 06 |  Doncaster
Doncaster announce stadium name
21 Nov 06 |  Doncaster
Roberts joins ranks at Doncaster
19 May 06 |  Doncaster
Rovers scotch Hull's Roberts bid
10 Jan 06 |  Tranmere Rovers


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