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Time to splash out to reach the bigtime says Doncaster's John Oster
Published : 08 Mar 2010 11:47:33
Doncaster Rovers must speculate to accumulate to push on and become the ultimate footballing success story. That's the view of midfielder John Oster, who says that only by loosening the Keepmoat purse strings will upwardly-mobile Rovers realise their Holy Grail of Premiership football, something that Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley, Bradford City and Hull City have already achieved.Go-ahead chairman John Ryan, who has dipped into his pockets to spend considerable millions on his beloved club - who were down amongst the dead men in the lower regions of the Conference as recently as 2000-01And only this week, the ebullient supremo threw down the gauntlet to fans desperate to watch their heroes step out at the likes of Anfield and Old Trafford, offering them a free season ticket in the club's first season in the Promised Land if they purchase them in the year they get promoted.It's a proactive move from Rovers, whose crowds have been disappointing this term, with just under 3,000 home tickets going unsold for the big Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday before Christmas and the club boasting just 6,500 season ticket holders.For Rovers to move to the next level, a leap of faith is needed from somewhere, according to Oster.The midfielder feels it is the very least that hugely-talented manager Sean O'Driscoll deserves after turning straw into gold during his successful era in South Yorkshire, which has yielded a play-off final victory at Wembley, Johnstone's Paint Trophy glory and the highest-ever finish for the Keepmoat oufitOster, 32, whose first club, Grimsby, went into freefall down the divisions after failing to significantly invest during their spell in the second tier in the 1990s, said: "The whole club has got to sort of re-assess itself and see where it wants to go."Things need to change, from the top down."I'm sure the manager feels the same and that he'd love to have the funds available to strengthen the team. But he's working to within a budget."For the club to progress, I think the purse strings have to be loosened a little more as you can't expect him (O'Driscoll) to keep working miracle"He's brought in players for free from lower division clubs and turned them into what he wants."It's a hard one, but that's just my view on it."Rovers have hinted on a tilt at the play-offs on occasions this term, but have lacked the consistency required, despite wiping the floor with several chastened Championship rivals on occasions this term as the likes of Wednesday, Watford and QPR can testify.A run similar to the turbo-charged return they managed in the second half of last term would have made them a surefire bet for the end-of-season play-offs, but that increasingly looks like being a long shot with recent back-to-back losses to Leicester and at QPR, beaten so convincingly at the Keepmoat in the autumn, taking the wind out of their sails.On their fleeting play-off hopes, Oster said: "It's going to be a tall order now. But you never say never, the lads will keep plugging away and we've got a few of the boys coming back from injury."You look at teams like Cardiff, who are having a bit of a stutter at the minute and I think maybe sixth position is up for grabs if someone puts a late run in."But it's getting that consistency at the minute. We need to get some continuity to our games, at the minute we seem to win a few and lose a few. "if you string a few wins together, you can kick on up the table."We played at Sheffield Wednesday and won and were flying that night. But we then went to QPR and we didn't - to our standards - turn up."It's hard to put your finger on why that happens."We had a great end to the season last time and have been up and down more this season; we had a lot of draws to start with, then a good run and a few defeats - it's been a strange old season."It's fair to say that Rovers - competing against a whole host of wealthy heavyweights in the Championship - are punching well above their weight with Oster, handed a chance by O'Driscoll following his release from Reading last year, full of admiration for the job being done by the highly-rated boss.Although his methods and persona are wholly different from the considerable number of managers that he has worked under - ranging from heart-on-sleeve types such as Neil Warnock, Brian Laws and Peter Reid to the more studious figures of Steve Coppell and Howard Wilkinson - Oster insists they are both winning and refreshing traits.Heralding O'Driscoll, Oster, who has also worked under other leading bosses such as Walter Smith, said: "He's not quite on trend as far as a lot of managers go. He's not one to hand out rollickings, he's quite methodical and thinks about the game quite a bit."He goes into great detail on the opposition and never leaves any stone unturned, which is good for us as we have no excuses then when we go out on the pitch."He's different from any other manager that I've come across as he likes to get players to think for themselves and make their own decisions and that can only benefit the players."Oster, now 32, is enjoying his football more than ever under O'Driscoll - although he accepts that something is patently missing, namely goals!Ahead of this weekend's action, the one-time Welsh international has yet to find the net in 2009-10, with his last strike coming in the colours of Crystal Palace in the 3-1 win at Plymouth in February 2008.Oster, whose season-best tally stands at six in 2002-03, said: "I just can't seem to score."That's probably been the only frustrating part for me this season.