Latics boss Dickov tells side: ‘play with freedom’
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 27 November 2012
ATHLETIC manager Paul Dickov wants his side to express themselves with pressure-free football tonight, as he welcomes Jose Baxter back into the starting line-up at Doncaster.
Wins at Hartlepool and at home against Shrewsbury have given Dickov leave to tell his players to relax.
Up against a Rovers side who know they will move joint-top of npower League One with a win, Athletic’s boss realises it will be far harder to match their 1-1 result at Bramall Lane last month.
“Doncaster have got a lot of experience and have goals in their team,” Dickov said. “We have to go there with the same attitude we did at Sheffield United and Crawley, who were both on fantastic runs.
“Hopefully, we can go there and play with a little bit of freedom.
“There was a lot of pressure on us in the last two games to get results. If anything, that takes the pressure off us a little bit again. Doncaster are on a really good run and nobody will be expecting us to get anything.”
Dickov concedes that the FA Cup tie against the same opponents at Boundary Park on Saturday is of great importance, but in targeting a third straight League One triumph he may field not only Baxter, a likely replacement for Matt Smith, but also Cristian Montano.
Both players were suspended for Shrewsbury and in Montano’s absence, scorer Jonathan Grounds was pushed forward to play on the left wing.
“With Cristian and Jose, what they will give you is quality going forward,” added Dickov, offering few clues as to his likely selection.
One player who definitely won’t feature tonight is Robbie Simpson: “Robbie will be okay, hopefully, for Saturday,” Dickov said. “This game is a bit too soon for him.”
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