George Johnston believes Doncaster Rovers will be ‘giving it everything’ when they take on Bolton Wanderers this afternoon but feels the Whites can perhaps exploit the situation their opponents are in as they fight for survival.
Wanderers head to Yorkshire to take on Donny this afternoon for a 3pm kick-off in League One with four games left to go of their campaign.
They are aiming to finish as high up the top half of the League One table as possible, while Gary McSheffrey’s side are fighting to remain in the division.
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They sit five points from safety heading into the upcoming fixtures, though Doncaster gave themselves a glimmer of hope thanks to a 2-0 win over Crewe Alexandra last weekend, a result which relegated the Railwaymen to League Two.
Having been in a relegation battle last season with Wigan Athletic, Johnston knows full well what to expect from Donny in their current predicament.
But he feels that it is possibly a chance for Wanderers to exploit Doncaster needing to win and the potential of being able to exploit that.
He said: “I’ve been in a relegation battle myself last season so I know what it’s like and they’ll be giving it everything. They’ll be well structured and they’ll know where they think they can hurt us and they’ll try and do that as much as they can throughout the game.
“But we take big backings to these away games with a lot of fans so we’ve got to put on a performance for them.
“I think they have to win, so there’s going to be areas that we can exploit during transitions.
“But with the quality we have, we think we can dominate the game from start to finish really and control it and then if we play the way we know that we can, we’ll get the three points.”
Johnston played the full game last weekend as Wanderers came from behind eleven again this season to get a share of the spoils against Sheffield Wednesday, as MJ Williams netted late on to cancel out Jordan Storey’s opener.
Skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos missed the game and is poised to be out for the season due to a hamstring problem.
But Johnston felt he and partner Will Aimson coped well against the Owls and kept them at bay for much of the encounter.
Ultimately, the defender felt Wanderers played better against the Owls at Hillsborough earlier in the season, but was pleased they were able to grind out a result and get a share of the spoils.
He said: “That’s something the manager touched on when Rico went out injured, but we coped with it and we knew we’d have to be a bit more solid defensively and we can’t rely on Rico to cover up behind us, especially when we went to the four against Sheffield Wednesday, me and Will (Aimson) talked during the week and made sure we were going to be solid at the back and just deal with their two threats up top.
“We knew if we dealt with them as much as possible we’ve always got a chance in the game with the late goals we’ve got recently. Unfortunately we conceded from the corner but we felt like we kept them at bay most of the game.
“I think those two away games, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland, were two of our ‘best’ losses because the way we played, we didn’t deserve to lose. Against Wednesday, I feel like we played better away from home but we grinded out the result and that is all down to character and working hard for each other.
“We have said in the changing rooms, earlier in the season those might have finished 1-0 to the opposition or we might have folded and they might have put a few past us.
“But I think our character has massively improved within the group and we grind out those results. It might take 60 or 70 minutes for us to get a goal because we are a possession-based team, we do want to tire the opposition and wear them down.
“As long as we keep those clean sheets, we can nick one or two goals at the end as you saw with Lincoln at home, we put a couple past them towards the end. It is something we have to work on obviously.
“Defensively, we have got to keep those clean sheets and give our attackers a chance to score those late goals.”