Doncaster Rovers v Leeds United: Run will test Rosler’s tactical squad rotation

Sol Bamba.
Sol Bamba.
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Head coach Uwe Rosler said he and Leeds United were “absolutely aware of our responsibilities” ahead of tonight’s League Cup tie at Doncaster Rovers, vowing to field a more experienced side than he used against Burnley on Saturday.

The Elland Road boss claimed his squad would give the knockout competition ample respect after a week in which numerous Championship clubs fell at the first-round stage.

Seven were eliminated during a flurry of upsets on Tuesday but Rosler is aiming to avoid another shock this evening, despite confirming that he would change the team which claimed a creditable 1-1 draw with Burnley in Leeds’ first league game of the season.

Captain Sol Bamba is among the players who could be rested at the Keepmoat Stadium as Rosler prepares for a spell in which Leeds will play four times in 10 days, including three away matches back-to-back.

“We take the cup seriously,” Rosler said. “We have one of the smallest squads in the country but every player who we’ll put out at Doncaster is a player who would expect to start against Reading, against Bristol City, against Sheffield Wednesday (next week).

“We’ll have a senior squad where the average age is higher than against Burnley so that tells you everything. Doncaster go into this game with nothing to lose but we’re absolutely aware of our responsibilities.

“In the past I’ve not been very successful (in the League Cup). I’ve been quite successful with the FA Cup but that should not give you any indication of how I think. In the history of this cup, there is always a good possibility for Football League teams to go far. Will it be Leeds? We will see.”

United were thrown a Thursday night fixture away to Paul Dickov’s League One side after Sky chose to broadcast this evening’s tie.

The re-arrangement forced Leeds’ visit to Reading to be moved to Sunday and next week’s clash at Bristol City to be switched to Wednesday night. Those games will be followed by a lunchtime kick-off against Sheffield Wednesday next Saturday.

“If I had the choice, I would definitely not have opted to play on Thursday,” Rosler said. “But what can I do? I didn’t get asked.

“It’s not a concern. I can’t say that. What would my players think reading that? I have to stay positive and think that we can win every game. We have no problems with challenges.

“We want to keep our momentum and there are players banging on the door to start. We’ve talked about a top-six mentality, continuity and consistency, and the willingness to win every competitive game. I have a good feeling that this place is buzzing.

“You have to live up to your promises and give players a chance. You can only do that by putting them on the pitch.”

Rosler, who will include new signing Stuart Dallas in his starting line-up after an impressive debut against Burnley, became close friends with Dickov during their time as players at Manchester City in the 1990s.

“He’s a good friend of mine,” Rosler said. “We never lost contact after our time at City. I always enjoyed his company and he’s a very good coach.

“He’s passionate about his football and he is as a person as he was as a player on the pitch. You know exactly what you get with him. He’s a top professional and a top person.”