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Players urged to step up

11 February 2013

Karl Robinson issued a rallying cry to his players to ‘turn on the style once again’ ahead of Tuesday night’s game with Doncaster Rovers.

he loss to Oldham Athletic on Saturday was the Dons’ third successive League defeat and it saw them slip into the bottom half of the table for the first time this season.T

Robinson, however, is remaining upbeat and urged his team to return to their old ways and to enjoy playing their football as they look to reignite their push for promotion, starting with their trip to the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow evening.

Speaking ahead of the game, the Dons boss said: “On paper, this calendar year, our hardest games have been Notts County away, Sheffield Wednesday home and away and QPR and we’ve not lost any of them – it’s strange.

“The players have got to stand up and be counted as well as the staff. I’ve been very honest with them all in a meeting this morning and we’ve had some frank discussions and I think they understand what it takes.

“I’m not shirking responsibility, though, and I’m not burying my head in the sand. We’re not in a good place at the moment but when you look over the last two or three years that I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve ever had to say that.

“We had a big meeting this morning and I wrote down all of our fixtures on our whiteboard, crossed lines through the ones we’ve played and told the players that only they can effect what happens in the final 17 that were left.

“But I also said, whatever happens tomorrow night, just go out and enjoy playing. We’ll have a game plan and I’ll pick a team that I feel is good enough to go and win, but I want them just to go out and play.

“These players haven’t turned into bad players over night so it’s not a case of me worrying about it too much, it’s more a case of me getting us back on track. There are still 17 games to go, which is a long time, and there’s an awful lot of football yet to be played.

“I still believe promotion is a realistic opportunity and although people might slate me for it, I’ll never apologise for being positive. We’re not up there with the big boys in terms of finances but we’re up there in terms of heart. I still believe we can go up, I really do.”

Despite lying in second place, Rovers have also stuttered of late and have lost their last two games and Robinson, who also confirmed that trio Gary MacKenzie, Daniel Powell and Luke Chadwick will all start tomorrow, is confident is side will give it all they’ve got as they search for an elusive three points.

“(Gary MacKenzie, Daniel Powell and Luke Chadwick) will start tomorrow. Doncaster will be very tough but Chadwick at his best is one of the best players in the League along with Gary MacKenzie and Daniel Powell. 

“We will arrive in Doncaster with our sleeves rolled up and we will make sure that we put our all into the game - we’ll give it a right good go. 

“Doncaster are good side and they’ve been consistent throughout the course of the season. They’ll probably have the mindset that it’s a good time to play us considering the run we’re on but we’ll go there positive and we’ll see what happens.”

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