By Tony Leighton
This week's dismissal of Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray could make a tough task even tougher for Doncaster Rovers, says the Keepmoat Stadium boss Paul Dickov as he prepares to take his team up to Teesside for Friday evening's televised Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside.
Mowbray's departure followed last Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Barnsley, the result leaving Boro level on points with and one place ahead of Doncaster, though Dickov's team have played one match fewer than their Friday night opponents.
Mark Venus, previously Mowbray's assistant, will be in the technical area opposite Dickov and the Donny boss told football-league.co.uk: "When clubs remove managers they tend to get a reaction from the players.
"They'll be the home team, they'll be out to impress and stamp their authority on the game and we've got to be aware of that. I've watched their game against Barnsley and they finished it very strongly."
Despite that strong finish, the Boro players find themselves without their manager of the last three years and Dickov added: "I feel for Tony Mowbray. He's a Middlesbrough lad and a top guy, but we can't look at what's happening there.
"They've got good players, but I believe it's about how we approach the game - and if we do things right then we'll have a chance of winning the game."
Doncaster have been doing things right often enough to have picked up some impressive results on their return to the Championship following promotion at the first attempt from League 1.
Under former Oldham Athletic manager Dickov, who was appointed at the Keepmoat Stadium during the close season, they have beaten third in the table Leicester City and drawn with fourth-placed Nottingham Forest, while also taking three points off both Blackburn Rovers and local rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
But they have also lost five games - one more than Boro - and the most recent of them 4-1 at Reading last week, although they finished the match with 10 men after using all three substitutes and then losing captain Rob Jones through injury.
Dickov said: "We're disappointed with our points total compared to our performances to date. We've played 11 league games and I'm pleased with how things are coming together - there's only been one game, against Bournemouth [a 1-0 home defeat], where I questioned our performance.
"At Reading last week we competed well and at 2-1 we were pushing and they were getting edgy - but they've got good players and they picked us off.
"Now we've got to get back to being hard to beat, and we've been working on that this week - but I still want to be positive and go out to try and win games, and that's what we'll be doing at Middlesbrough."
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