City urged to raise themselves for Rams

City players have been told to lift themselves after they followed up their 5-2 destruction of Wolves by grinding out a late, late victory over struggling Doncaster on Saturday.

City players have been told to lift themselves after they followed up their 5-2 destruction of Wolves by grinding out a late, late victory over struggling Doncaster on Saturday.

"I don't now why, but we had what I thought were tired performances," said manager Glenn Roeder. "Not performances where players gave in to it, but they looked like they didn't have a change of pace, they were flat."

Roeder made two changes during the game which he attributed to tiredness, with John Kennedy taking over Gary Doherty's duties in central defence and Lee Croft replaced by David Bell on the right flank.

"That is the only reason Crofty came off," he said. "We got fresh legs in with David Bell, who is desperate to get a start. It made perfect sense to me, it was an easy decision."


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It was Sammy Clingan (pictured) who inspired the Wolves victory and, although he couldn't pull the same strings at the weekend, Roeder saw him as an example of his team's resilience.

"I think he epitomises the squad at the moment for determination and the drive and desire to keep going even when things aren't going well, because it wasn't going great for Sammy on Saturday," he said. "Whereas everything he did on Tuesday night was just perfect, Saturday things weren't quite as good as Tuesday but he never gave in and I think he epitomises what this squad is about at the moment."

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Bell has yet to make a start since his summer arrival from Luton, his debut delayed because of an ankle injury, but his presence has brought out the best in Croft, who has started the last seven games - but been replaced by Bell on his last three games.

"He is gradually building up his match fitness, getting 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there," said Roeder. "He is desperate to start. He came here to start matches, not to come on from the bench, but Crofty has been so good it is making it difficult for him.

"That's why I think you can look around the team and see there are several players who are doing better than last year, simply because they know if they don't they are out of the team because the squad is better, a lot better than it was a year ago when we took over.

"That is the beauty of having nearly all the players fit. It is going to involve 16 there are going to be three or four left out every game.

"Arturo (Lupoli) is out of the team at the moment. He has to show me here at Colney that he deserves to be back in the starting line-up or on the bench. The only reason we had two strikers on the bench until a few games ago is because we didn't have enough defenders.

"We didn't have a defender to put on the bench but now we have a defender, two midfield players and one striker it is a real challenge for the strikers to be involved in any shape or form."

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