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SMITH: CONCENTRATE ON OURSELVES

10 September 2015

Managerless Rovers next up at the Banks's...

SADDLERS boss, Dean Smith, has urged his players to concentrate on their own performances and not worry about the impact that Paul Dickov’s departure could have on Saturday’s opponents, Doncaster.

Dickov parted company with Rovers on Tuesday after two years at the helm - leaving defender, Rob Jones, in temporary charge.

The South Yorkshire Club have had an indifferent start to the season and currently sit in 17th position with six points from as many league matches.

And speaking ahead of this weekend’s meeting, Smith has admitted that Dickov’s exit has left him unsure of what to expect.

“I like Dicko, he’s a really good guy,” said Smith. “We’ve had some tussles over the years and we probably came into management at the same time. It’s always disappointing when someone loses their job very early but we have to concentrate on ourselves.

"Rob Jones has taken over as caretaker manager and he’ll have his own ideas. For us to predict how they’re going to play could be very difficult now.

"You have an idea of how they’ve been playing in the last four or five games. That goes out of the window a little bit but the players are still the same. They’ve got some very good players there and their expectancy is to be in the top six this season.

"It’s going to be a tough game but we’ve got to make sure we get the sort of performance that we’ve had in the last five league games.”

The Saddlers’ unbeaten league start came to an end in frustrating circumstances last weekend, as we were beaten 1-0 by Bury despite dominating the match for long periods.

Although the result was disappointing, Smith was pleased with his side’s display.

“We need a response in terms of the result,” he said. “Performance-wise, we don’t need a response because the performance was there. You reflect afterwards on the game when you review it, and there won’t be many teams who’ll be able to stop us if we play like we did against Bury.

“Yes, they had to defend very well but our performance was very good. If we look at our first six games of the season, it’s probably just the last hour of the first game where I’ve been disappointed. In all of the other games, we’ve played really well.

“If we had won two, drawn two and lost two, but the performances had been what they have been, I would still be saying that we’ve had a good start. It’s important that we continue what we’ve been doing.”

Goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, and right-back, Jason Demetriou, are both available this weekend after returning from international duty.

Etheridge experienced mixed fortunes with the Philippines, winning 2-0 in a friendly against the Maldives, but then losing 5-1 to Uzbekistan in a World Cup qualifier.

Demetriou’s Cyprus, meanwhile, suffered back-to-back 1-0 home defeats to Wales and Belgium in European Championship qualifying.

Smith has no injury concerns.

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