All posts by Lee

Doncaster Rovers vs Carlisle United: Match Report

Carlisle continue to extend their unbeaten run, but should it really have been a draw

I must admit, I didn’t see Rovers being the team to end this winning streak. I was, of course, very willing to be proved wrong. It was certainly a pleasant suprise to see Richardo Calder finally starting for us instead of Frazer Richardson, especially considering the incredible impact he makes when he’s substituted on week after week. It was only a matter of time before he made it into the starting eleven. I was very shocked when I found out that Fergie didn’t use the loss against Luton as an oppertunity to mix up the back line and finally include Mattiheu Baudry. The starting line-up certainly looked promising. Was a win on the horizon?

For the duration of the first half, it certainly seemed that way. With the exception of their goal, which was scored with far too much ease for my liking as the cross took a deflection off a striker, Rovers were totally dominant. It was a very similar performance to the first twenty miniutes at Luton, with chances being created almost constantly. Coppinger was once again on form, the guy genuinely should be in the running once again for player of thr month because he is head and shoulders above everyone else in this division. Marquis was also excellent, his work ethic is something that goes unrivaled and alongside Williams (who also put a shift in on Tuesday) he cannot be stopped.

Then, an absolutely brutal, yet effective, challenge from Matty Blair (Paul Keegan, eat your heart out) totally opened up play for Doncater. Tommy Rowe and Andy Williams perfomed a little one-two outside the box before the midfielder, who was widely regarded as the signing of the Summer, hit home in the eighteenth minute – only three minutes after Carlisle took the lead.

Afterwards, Rovers were literally on fire. Calder and Blair were absolutely annihilating the visiting defenders, with nearly every single opportunity on goal coming from the right hand side of the pitch. Eventually, we took the lead when John Marquis turned a defender inside out before taking a shot just outside the penalty area to make it 2-1 just before half time.

At this point it seemed that ending the unbeaten streak was inevitable. Surely to God it was…
After the intermission, we missed our third penalty of the 2016/17 campaign when Tommy Rowe’s strike deflected embarrassingly off the bar. This destroyed any momentum we could have mustered in the second half and won’t do Rowe’s confidence any good at all.

I’m obviously not sure what Carlisle boss Keith Curle said during his team talk at half time, but it must have been something to rival the very best motivational speekers out there. Carlisle came out with a newfound sense of grit, determination and passion that made me realise why they were yet to lose. It was obvious, they wouldn’t give up without a fight. Unfortunately, it seemed that our defence didn’t possess quite so much strength with Andy Butler doing most of the work for his teammates on the back line and Marosi making stunning safe after stunning safe. It became apparrent that soon the Carlisle strike force would soon equalise.

The role substitutions played in the game for both teams was absolutely vital to how it ended. Taking off Richardo Calder totally irradicated any attacking momentum we had and that combined with Carlisle making very attacking changes meant that we were suddenly on the back foot. It was clear the Carlisle coaches knew how strong our midfield could be, and therefore totally bypassed theirs by lobbing a bunch of players up front and hoofing it up the pitch to them. Eventually, it broke and the away side equalised in the seventy-ninth minute.

Winners

– Andy Butler: Although both goals scored by Carlisle could have been easily prevented, without Butler they could have easily scored seven or eight more. I have always been a fan of him and his no-nonsense approach to the game. The classic, good old-fashioned centre half is a dying breed and one we must try our hardest to preserve. Butler is that kind of centre back, and that kind of approach to the game ensured we didn’t experience an embarrassing loss.

– Richardo Calder: I am passionate about Richardo Calder. He did very little during his appearances last season, but this year he has come into his own. Even when playing on the right, despite being left-footed, he is a proper force to be reckoned with. I have literally no clue why they subbed him off.

– Carlisle: It takes a lot of mental strength to be unbeaten in this league, and I can only applaud the Cumbrians for being able to do so.

Losers

– Anyone who takes a penalty for Doncaster Rovers: Why can’t we score penalites?! It makes no sense really that we are throwing away something that would be a guarranteed goal for any other team. This is the third player to miss a penalty this season now and I have no idea who’s going to take the next one. It is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed by the coaching staff sooner rather than later.

– Harry Middleton: Of all the players who could be brought on to make an impact, or to solidify the defence, Harry Middleton isn’t someone who springs to mind for me. I like the guy a lot, but for me he doesn’t change the game enough to be brought on in games like that.

– Joe Wright and Cedric Evina: Some of the defending during the second half was almost non-existent today, especially from Wright and Evina. Matty Blair isn’t included in this section because he created an immense amount of attacking play and is playing suprisingly well for someone who is totally out of postio, keeps improving and didn’t actually make that many mistakes – unlike the other two who are defenders by trade and really shouldn’t be letting cross after cross go past them.

Doncaster Rovers vs Carlisle United: Match Preview

It’s a swift chance to bounce back as Rovers face their second tough test in a matter of days…

Despite sitting pretty at the top of League Two after half an hour on Saturday, a 1-0 lead that should have been higher was turned around by hosts Luton Town as the Hatters went on to a 3-1 victory to end the Reds’ latest winning run. James Coppinger netted for the third game in a row but the defence was undone too many times and our strikers failed to find their scoring boots.

This was seen as a tough fixture and rightly so as the win took Luton just ahead of us in the table and saw them join us as the division’s highest scoring team to date. Up next is a chance to put things right however as unbeaten Carlisle United come south to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Discounting an epic penalty shoot-out defeat to Derby in the EFL Cup, Carlisle have not tasted defeat since the end of April and will be a formidable opponent. They are one of only two teams to knock off leaders Plymouth so far this term and sit just one point and two places behind us in the standings.

Keith Curle’s side look a dark horse for promotion contention and boast a wealth of talent for this level, conceding just nine goals so far thanks to Mark Gillespie in goal and a defence boasting three ever-presents including veteran Danny Grainger. Our record against the Cumbrians is hit-and-miss but our last meeting at this level was a memorable one, Rovers lifting the Division 3 title at Belle Vue in the closer of the 2003/04 season.

The big question going into the game is which formation Fergie will deploy, reverting to his favoured 3-5-2 in a failed attempt to bring the game back in our favour. If Mathieu Baudry is fit enough to make his full debut, put your money on three at the back. Questions must also be asked of Cedric Evina’s place in the side with Tyler Garratt now fit again after a shoddy display from the Cameroonian at Kenilworth Road.

One to Watch

Charlie Wyke is Carlisle’s main goal threat, picking up where he left off last season netting four goals in eleven games for our visitors. He is ably assisted by the likes of Shaun Miller, who scored the winner against Wycombe on Saturday, Jabo Ibehre and Reggie Lambe, but it is Wyke who so often steals the headlines.

Big Night

Tuesday evening could see a full debut for highly rated centre half Mathieu Baudry, who appeared off the bench against Luton as Fergie tested the 3-5-2, a formation Baudry was signed to play in. If he starts it’ll mean a change in shape for the Reds, but will the Frenchman be sharp enough at present to make the impact we need him to?

Luton Town vs Doncaster Rovers: Match Report

Luton Town 3 – 1 Doncaster Rovers: Match report by Lizzie Robinson

The game against Luton was bound to be our first real test of the season, unfortunately we failed it miserably…

Fresh off the back of two excellent victories over Morecambe and Newport, Rovers seemed to be indestructible. The only change Darren Ferguson made to the side was bringing in newly fit right back Frazer Richardson for Harry Middleton. This allowed Matty Blair to take a more attacking role in the side, so he was no longer playing out of position.

The Rovers side started in impeccable fashion. After five minutes we genuinely could have been 3-0 up, with both Williams and Marquis failing to put away absolute sitters and a goal disallowed for being offside. Matty Blair playing on the right hand side was absolutely key, with the width he was providing allowing us to go past the diamond in Luton’s midfield with ease, creating chance after chance.

So far this season, Doncaster Rovers have scored in every single competitive game and this hasn’t changed despite our loss. Joint top goal scorer James Coppinger slotted in his 5th goal of the season, putting the visiting side deservedly in front. After this goal, however, everything changed.

During the goalmouth scramble before Coppinger scored, Luton’s captain Scott Cuthbert got seriously injured in the six-yard box. The huge amount of time taken to treat and remove the centre back from the field completely destroyed all momentum Rovers had, and was certainly the turning point of the game.

Luton began to go on the attack, fuelled by their captain’s horrible looking injury and determined to make up for his absence. Their first shot on target all game went in due to some sloppy defending and some very evident mental fragility that had arisen after the considerable break in play. Luton’s second goal was very similar, with Marriott seamlessly sliding the ball under Marko Marosi, securing a lead before the break.

Rovers came out from half time with very little improvement. The width that helped us to create chance after chance in the first twenty minutes had totally disappeared along with any momentum we’d previously had. The midfield line-up of Rowe, Haughton and later Middleton, when he was substituted on for a presumably injured Richardson, failed to create anything in the middle of the park either, with Copps beginning to disappear into nothingness. It felt like it was only a matter of time until Luton scored a third and eventually they did.

There has been some debate as to whether Joe Wright’s challenge was actually inside the box or not, it was so close that it’s basically impossible to tell. Either way, it was the final nail in the coffin and cemented defeat to the Hatters when McGeehan’s penalty hit the roof of the net in spectacular fashion.

Winners

  • Luton Town FC – After two successive defeats to teams lower than them in the league, Luton managed to bounce back and perform brilliantly to defeat us, capitalising on our sudden lack of momentum after the break in play.
  • James Coppinger – The guy just keeps on scoring, although his performance was far from his best today.
  • The travelling fans – Despite our players failing to turn up today, the Rovers fans did in droves. A 260 mile round trip takes a huge amount of commitment, which should really be applauded considering the sheer numbers that made it to the game and had to endure such a frustrating loss.

Losers

  • The Rovers defence – I certainly hoped that our back four, which has been pretty solid as of late, would make Luton’s front two Hylton and Marriott look more like a Travelodge and a Ibis Budget, but this was definitely not the case. The first two goals were sloppily conceded and it was disappointing to see a back four that was so strong a week ago, look so out of their depth. Even the addition of newly fit Baudry didn’t help matters in the way most people expected.
  • Tommy Rowe – It pains me to say this, but I kept forgetting the signing of the Summer was on the pitch. He didn’t create chances the way he usually does and didn’t impress at all. One can only hope that this is merely a blip and his performances will go back to normal sooner rather than later.
  • Darren Ferguson – I’m NOT saying this result was Fergie’s fault. Far from it. I’m very much in support of the Scotsman at the helm of the team. Our form under him so far this season has been pretty spectacular and the way we played in the first twenty minutes of the game showcased this yet again. However, there is no denying that he has a huge task on his hands to ensure we bounce back against an undefeated Carlisle on Tuesday and get this run of form back on track sooner rather than later.

Lizzie Robinson

The DRSG sends special thanks to Lizzie Robinson for this report and Adam Stubbings who wrote the preview. The DRSG website is an open platform not afraid to publish the views of any Rovers fan however extreme. If you want your content to be made available to our audience then please do not hesitate to contact us!

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Luton Town vs Doncaster Rovers: Match Preview

The squad face their toughest test of the season to date as we head to Kenilworth Road…

Darren Ferguson may have been dismayed by the performance last time out but the 2-0 win over Newport was the side’s fifth in six games and has put us into the heady heights of 2nd place going into this weekend’s clash with the Hatters. Optimism is creeping back in to the Rovers fanbase but the more level-headed among us have been keen to stress the difficulty facing us in the next few games.

Four of our five league wins have come against sides currently in the bottom five places in League Two but the shape of the table is still fairly irrelevant at this early stage. Luton pose a significant threat, but have been beaten in their last two games falling from the top of the pile to the edge of the play offs, and momentum is something that always matters in football.

Unlike recent opponents such as Newport and Yeovil, Luton will attack us and do possess quality throughout the team, most notably up front with summer signing Danny Hylton netting five goals already this season, among them an impressive hat-trick against Wycombe. Hylton has stated his belief that Luton are capable of winning the title this year so the aim is clear for both sides.

Rovers though have their own 5-goal forward with a treble under his belt this season, and the battle at opposite ends of the field between Hylton and Andy Williams will be something to keep an eye on if you’re travelling down south on Saturday, Williams on target again along with James Coppinger in the victory against Newport to take the Reds past Luton as League Two’s top scoring team of 2016/17 so far.

Frazer Richardson should return at right back to relieve Matty Blair from the unfamiliar role, although the attacker has done very well deputising there in the past two games. Mathieu Baudry is also close to featuring but will not be rushed in by Fergie, nor will Paul Keegan or Gary McSheffrey although all played a part in a midweek friendly at Cantley Park.

This is our first meeting with Luton since 2008, and we are unbeaten in four matches against them although all four of these games came in League One in the last decade and are our only clashes since 1970.

One to Watch

Hylton may be the main target man but young midfielder Cameron McGeehan could be the game-changer in this one. McGeehan has notched four goals and two assists himself in a promising start to the campaign, and has attracted attention from bigger clubs in recent months. He is also a former U21 international team mate of Rovers defender Luke McCullough, although surprisingly quit the Northern Ireland team citing a change of heart regarding his nationality.

Big Weekend

With several injured players not far from returning, now is the time for those in the line-up to earn the right to keep their place. That means a stellar performance is needed from Harry Middleton, replaced after an hour in each of the last two games, with the soon-to-return McSheffrey threatening to take his place and Riccardo Calder also keen to impress from the bench.

Doncaster Rovers vs Newport County

Adam Stubbings was at the Keepmoat yesterday to report for the DRSG as Rovers welcomed Newport County:

Our good run continues as Coppinger steals the show again…

  • It is hard not to turn your eye to the record-breaker every time Rovers step out onto the pitch at the moment. This remarkable start to the season shows no sign of slowing down for James  Coppinger, and he marked another big occasion with yet another Man of the Match display.
  • Since switching to the 4-1-3-2 formation, Coppinger has been the beating heart of Darren Ferguson’s fluid attacking verve. The 35-year-old again asserted his superior quality on opponents Newport, capping it off with a 17th minute direct free kick harking back to glory days of the past.
  • Rovers kept up their early season style by dominating possession in the first half, but a rather disjointed showing meant it remained only 1-0 at the break. The visitors could have found a way back into the game most notably when Jon Parkin faced an open goal after a defensive error only to scuff well wide under little pressure.
  • Goalkeeper Marko Marosi took a big knock early on but recovered to put in a superb display, showing immediately that he was unafraid to get stuck back in by rushing out to claim a couple of 50/50 challenges in his area against Newport forwards.
  • Fergie’s boys may not have improved too much in the second half but they got the job done, Andy Williams atoning for an earlier miss by making the points secure just before the hour mark. Williams finished smartly for his fifth goal of the season after being teed up by Tommy Rowe after the midfielder had showed great tenacity to chase down a defensive clearance.
  • Ryan Jackson replaced the ineffectual Parkin before the former Rovers forward could get himself a second booking for persistent fouling, adding much needed pace to the Newport front line that caused us some problems but the back line held firm and secured a clean sheet.
  • Marosi must be credited with a huge influence on that outcome too, springing to two excellent diving saves in the second half to keep the away side out. The young Slovakian seems to be improving game on game and has made the #1 shirt his own – today has to go down as one of his best performances to date.
  • Centre forward John Marquis ran Coppinger close for the MOTM award with a display a bullish greyhound would be proud of. Marquis was everywhere again, demonstrated excellent hold up play and should have won Rovers at least one penalty in the second half.

Winners

James Coppinger – The club legend put his skilful stamp on this match early on, notching a superb free kick that has to go down among his finest strikes for Rovers. With another award handed to him before kick-off, Copps showed again that he is the man for the big occasion.

Marko Marosi – After taking a knock that nearly ended his day early, Marosi went on to earn a well-deserved clean sheet making several good saves in both halves, and also showed mental fortitude by getting stuck in to challenges despite the injury.

Rovers fans – Credit has to go to all involved in pulling off the confetti display after 26 minutes to pay tribute to James Coppinger. The array of colours exploding out of the Black Bank is another triumph for the upstart fan movement since its introduction last year.

Losers

Jon Parkin – ‘The Beast’ he may be, but on his return to the Keepmoat it was a day to forget for the veteran striker. He missed an absolute sitter in the first half, earned a deserved booking and was then hauled off just past the hour mark after an impotent display.
David Webb – The referee had a pretty decent game for 65 minutes or so, but after his linesman let him down on a blatant penalty call on John Marquis, the official then rushed forth to brandish a yellow card when Marquis was clipped in the box again, leading to an alarming spell in which Newport’s players tried in vain to wind the striker up again. Instead all they got for it was a succession of yellow cards as Marquis kept his cool and avoided serious injury.

The DRSG sends special thanks to Adam Stubbings for this report and Lizzie Robinson who wrote the preview. The DRSG website is an open platform not afraid to publish the views of any Rovers fan however extreme. If you want your content to be made available to our audience then please do not hesitate to contact us!

IN FERGIE WE TRUST?

Has Fergie learnt anything from last season?


Let’s not sugar coat this, Fergie can consider his tenure at Doncaster Rovers last season as an absolute failure. With just 6 games gone last season the Rovers board acted swiftly to axe Paul Dickov and give the team a realistic chance to turn the season around and challenge for promotion, instead we start the season a division lower.

Ferguson is lucky to still be in employment at Doncaster Rovers, and surely he realises that if he fails to get the results this season then it is over for the Scotsman. Personally, I will not accept anything less than 100 points, the League Two title and Aaron Taylor Sinclair to make 0 appearances for the club.

Although this sounds like a task that would be quite difficult for a team that went 17 games without a win last season which included games against all but one of the bottom 8 teams in League One, Ferguson has been making the right noises during the off-season period by securing the return of Tommy Rowe and Gary McSheffrey on permanent deals (more on this later), bringing in Ross Etheridge and Mathieu Baudry from Accrington Stanley and Leyton Orient respectively. Young talent also enters the squad in the form of Joe Wright and Tyler Garratt, highly respected and accomplished players Matty Blair and John Marquis have also joined the ranks along with non-league star Alfie Beestin.

These additions coupled with the retention of most of the squad from last season has been enough for pundits and the bookmakers alike to tip Fergie’s men to challenge the likes of Portsmouth for the League Two title. Sadly however, I don’t share the same sense of optimism and I do have to question whether Fergie has learnt anything from the implosion of last season?

Before I go any further, I probably should point out that I’m not writing this as someone who was against Fergie’s appointment or the sacking of Dickov (Hello, Mark Hughes), no in fact I wrote an article before Fergie was announced highlighting that he would have been my choice as well. I truly and honestly expected Fergie to be the man to lead Doncaster Rovers out of the mediocrity of League One – which truth be told he did, he just lead us in the wrong direction.

Obviously Fergie has been talking the talk in pre-season, signed some decent players for this level, kept arguably (and I use that word with caution) our best player at the club in Andy Williams and has said what fans wanted to hear in press conferences and fans meetings etc., but all this is starting to look and feel a little bit like the last two seasons. Players more than capable were brought in, the manager (then a Mr Dickov) was saying the right things in press conferences but on each occasion we couldn’t do anything more than accept mid-table mediocrity.


The lack of pre-season games has not given fans much time to see the action on the pitch, but even with the recent additions and our new injuries in pre-season the squad still looks very bare in the middle of the park. The noises coming out of the club seem to suggest that we will be using a combination of entering the loan market and using our development and young players as a solution. On the face of it, it doesn’t seem a bad idea but I probably only need to mention the names of Mitchell Lund and Lyndon Gooch as evidence that these solutions can have calamitous effects if you don’t build strength in depth. I fear that if this backfires on Fergie (again) it will be a blunder that would make Aaron Taylor Sinclair blush and point towards a season languishing in mid-table (or worse) of League Two.

The decision to bring back both Tommy Rowe and Gary McSheffrey on permanent deals is in my opinion a dubious decision. Whilst both players did shine towards the end of last season let us not forget that they were shining in a squad that couldn’t defeat a Colchester side that hadn’t won at home for 6 months and were 1-0 down to the Rovers going into the break, or even a Crewe side already relegated. Put simply, Habib Bamogo and Harry Worley would have been able to play in that squad and leave with ratings of 7 or above.

Tommy Rowe is certainly a player who knows both Leagues One and Two very well, but he failed to light up Glanford Park when loaned to Scunthorpe last season before being loaned to us, his career has been on a downward spiral since suffering an injury and breaking his leg in late 2014. We have to question realistically whether his 14 games for us last season were the last bit of shine in a darkening bulb, or whether it is the reignition of his career. As a club that finished the season relegated and not a single player out of contract, you do have to wonder why we have taken such a gamble and given Rowe a 3 year contract.

Onto McSheffrey, again someone else who we signed as a result of feeding off the scraps of local rivals Scunthorpe United. McSheffrey probably knows his best days when at Coventry are behind him and regardless of whether we win promotion or not, I do believe this season will be the start of a new era for McSheffrey as his career will take him into the lower depths of non-league football where he will probably continue playing until the age of 45. One thing McSheffrey does highlight however, is just how much we have fallen as a club, if you had told me 5 years ago that our salvation would lie in Gary McSheffrey I’d have probably told you where to stick it.


Finally, Ferguson has told the press recently that Coppinger will remain team captain because “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Now Harry Forrester (arguably our most technically gifted player last season) was shipped out for what I can only imagine was showing a lack of interest towards the manager. Curtis Main was dropped as a result of not making an impact after only a handful of sub appearances and made his way to Oldham and helped them to survive. Meanwhile, we watched our club suffer relegation despite being tipped to finish in the play-offs. We were relegated for the most part thanks to the run of 17 games without a win, now during this abysmal run we lacked character, fight and spirit, we needed a leader, a man to rise up from the ashes of defeat. When everyone looked at Coppinger to make the step from Club Legend to God amongst men his leadership proved as reliable as Aaron Taylor Sinclair. 

Maybe these are the ravings of a madman. But whether or not come May we’ll be celebrating promotion, the pre-season has thus far proved that not everything is going to be as straightforward as Fergie had hoped. This season will undoubtedly have highs and lows. If Fergie manages to deliver he may earn himself a place in Rovers folklore. Should he fail however, then he will only have himself to blame.

DRSG DEBATE: IS FERGIE TIME RUNNING OUT?

Should Fergie stay or should he go? Lee Croft argues the case for him to stay at DRFC:

Read the case for him to leave by Rob Johnson  here

Whilst I can’t deny our current form; 2 points in our last 10 games and without a win does look bleak for the Rovers – I have to question if sacking Fergie really the answer?

Fergie came in just a few months ago and proved to be the breath of fresh air we needed, he instilled his philosophy into the Rovers squad and for the first time since the days of SOD you could actually see the game plan the manager had actively instructed his team to carry out. Prior to the Gillingham game we were in with a realistic chance of the play-offs.

Since then we have hit a slump and I have to ask whether or not a bad run of games in 11 games is enough to wield the axe? Granted we sacked Dickov after 6 games this season but that was on the back of last season which was a tough and enduring one under Dickov’s tenure. Yes things are bad now, but this is over a period of a couple of months, Fergie has only been in charge for 24 games and this bad run doesn’t even amount to half of that.

In my honest opinion he should be given more time: I know that Fergie doesn’t appreciate being compared with his father but this current run does remind me of Sir Alex when he first arrived at Old Trafford to a team going backwards and after a couple of seasons and a bad run it looked like his tenure was to be brought to an end and is heavily rumoured that had Mark Robins not scored that goal against Forest in the FA Cup; then Fergie may have been sacked. I think what that teaches us is that sometimes patience and time with a manager will reap rewards.
In a time where many are criticising the board and making comparisons to when John Ryan was here and missing the ‘good ol’ days’ there are things we need to remember. If there is one thing John Ryan taught us whilst he was Chairman of DRFC it was that knee-jerk reactions and sacking managers after a bad run was not always the right thing to do. In fact the only time John Ryan acted swiftly to sack a manager during a bad run with Sean O’Driscoll in 2011 resulted in the team relegated anyway.

Speaking of the board; the last time we went through a manager change earlier this season the board went through a very long and drawn out process to select the next candidate. This state of limbo undoubtedly affected the team’s performance; whilst Dickov was sacked after just 6 games we were still effectively watching Dickov’s team under Rob Jones until game 12. If we are looking to change managers with 10 games to go then I don’t think we can afford to risk another 4 or 5 games under a caretaker whilst we find a new manager. Chances are it will be too late.

Furthermore the time the board took in selecting Fergie as the man to lead Doncaster Rovers to salvation does at least infer their intentions that this was a long term investment in the club. They made it clear that they brought Darren here as the man to remain at the helm for years rather than months. Whilst that doesn’t grant Fergie with a free pass to not win a single game I do think this allows us to make a fair assumption that they too will not be looking at a knee jerk reaction.

Whilst it may sound like I’m clutching at straws here, the stats do suggest that despite our bad run we are currently in, Fergie has improved our points per game ratio. After 6 games Dickov was sacked with Rovers picking up just 6 points in their first 6 games – an unimpressive point per game. Since Fergie has taken over he has picked up 26 points in 24 games which averages over 1 point per game. Admittedly a minuscule increase in the grand scheme of things but I believe that when you take our current predicament into account with 3 points in 11 games then it makes the stat far more impressive.

I think what we all need to remember as well is that this bad run still hasn’t seen us slip into the bottom four. I admit we are dangerously close and with Oldham having two games in hand then it is still a possibility. But that being said we have to keep faith and believe that a couple of good results will steer us clear and provide us the momentum to get a run going and look a little bit higher up the table.

Darren Ferguson is still a young manager who has a lot to learn, his refusal to change from the 3-5-2 formation can be a worry and his reliance on youth players when players such as Main, Forrester and Jones have left a void are possible mistakes the Scot has made. But he is genuine, he is passionate and he has a long term plan for the club – I don’t think sacking him now is the answer; with 10 games left I think it’s too tough a task for anyone to come in and work such a miracle. Fergie knows these players more than any alternative and we have to trust that he knows what is required to ensure League One football for next season.

In Ferguson We Trust.

IS FERGIE TIME RUNNING OUT? The case for

Should Fergie stay or should he go? Rob Johnson argues the case for him going:

By the time Paul Dickov was finally sacked after a 1-0 defeat against Gillingham his position had become untenable. The ferocity of the fans dismay was unleashed on Dickov with vocal and numerous chants of ‘Dickov Out’ at the final whistle at Priestfield and as the diminutive Scot walked down the tunnel he looked a defeated man.

Dickov was never really wanted at the Keepmoat stadium following a dismal spell at Oldham and he did nothing whilst at Rovers to suggest he was the man to take the club forward. Darren Ferguson however was hailed as a saviour upon his arrival. A last gasp winner at Shrewsbury was to be the stepping stone for a run of 2 defeats in 12 games. During that glorious run Rovers scored 25 goals and swept teams aside with a 5-3-2 formation that seemed to get the best out of a limited squad.

Fast forward a few weeks and all that good will that Fergie generated during his honeymood period has been swept away by Rovers worst run of form in a single season since the end of the 2010/11 season. If Donny don’t win on Saturday that will be 13 games without a win, that would be our worst run since the ill fated 97-98 season in which Rovers were barely a football team.

In the last 12 winless games, Rovers have scored just 8 goals, 17 less than in the previous 12 games. They have contrived to lose 9 and draw 3 of those games and haven’t won at home since December 12th. Yet throughout that time Darren Ferguson has continued to persevere with wing backs despite the fact that this system has clearly been found out by the other sides in league 1. He has signed Lynden Gooch and Ricardo Calder who have provided exactly 0 goals between them. Fergie has allowed McCullough and particularly the abysmal Taylor-Sinclair to keep their place in defence despite constant individual errors.

On Saturday against Bradford Cedric Evina started right wing back. Still there is no answer to the right sided defensive positions. It is a ridiculous situation that Rovers are still playing a formation that ensures that most of the players are playing out of position. Various central midfield partnerships have been tried since the injury to James Coppinger and none of Conor Grant, Richard Chaplow, Paul Keegan or Harry Middleton have looked comfortable playing as part of a central three with no creativity and no cover for a mistake prone defence.

Rovers now find themselves 2 points above the drop zone with 10 games still to play. Now is the time to stick or twist. It is ludicrous to think that this team could get relegated. This is the same team who finished 13th last season give or take a couple of players. It has taken an immense case of mismanagement from board level down for Rovers to find themselves in this position.

The thought of watching Rovers play to 3000 fans in the Keepmoat next season is a sobering one. Rotherham have shown how a change of manager can coincide with a change of fortunes. Since Neil Warnock has taken over they have beaten Brentford, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough and most recently come from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Derby County. This from a team who had won just once in their previous 11 games.

Rovers must not be relegated to league 2. It would be an unmitigated disaster for a club uncertain of its future. We need someone to come in, send these pampered kids back to their premier league clubs, bring in some nasty, experienced lower league players to fight and scrap our way out of the relegation places. Darren Ferguson has shown in the last 12 games that he is not the man to do this. Fergie has to go.

DRSG STATEMENT: Bradford City Tickets

Joint Doncaster Rovers Supporter Organisations Statement on the Bradford City Ticketing situation from Doncaster Rovers Supporters Group, the Official Supporters Club and the Viking Supporters Co-operative.

Earlier in the season Doncaster Rovers and Bradford City made a commitment to a reciprocal pricing agreement to encourage both home and away fans to attend the fixtures when the two teams meet. Doncaster Rovers reduced the tickets for the Bradford City home game to £15 earlier in the season and this was very successful, with 8410 supporters attending, including over 2,000 Bantams fans.

We have now been informed that Bradford City will not be doing the same in the coming fixture at Valley Parade next week and will charge Doncaster Rovers fans full price.

Instead, Bradford City are looking at offering alternative incentives to encourage fans to attend on the day.

This is wholly unacceptable to ALL the recognised supporter groups of Doncaster Rovers; the Doncaster Rovers Supporters Club, the Viking Supporters Co-operative and the Doncaster Rovers Supporters Group.

Unanimously, we agree that any alternative will be nothing more than a token gesture to cover up the fact that Bradford City FC are refusing to treat our away supporters with the same dignity and respect that our club treated theirs.

Bradford City are a football club who received praise from many fans of other clubs for their radical approach to Season Ticket pricing and making football more accessible. On this occasion they are failing supporters.

Our away support has been nothing short of fantastic this season and it’s no secret that away fans often get the short end of the stick in terms of treatment from some clubs – we are proud to support a club that opposes the trend and it’s a shame that Bradford City don’t share the vision to treat us as equals.

We urge fans to join in with a peaceful protest on the day of the game. We believe that as a body of fans we should make our feelings known that this isn’t an acceptable way to treat supporters. Anyone who is interested in joining us are welcome to attend an open meeting on Wednesday at 7PM at the Staff Of Life pub, Waterdale, Doncaster, where we will discuss our plans for the game.

DRSG Members Update: Catering Changes

Since the inception of the DRSG over 18 months ago, our vision and aims have remained the same: To make your matchdays better. As you will no doubt be aware most of our efforts on this have been focused on the Matchday atmosphere and we have been supporting the Black Bank to help achieve this.

However, one area that has been a concern for many supporters and members of the DRSG is that of catering, and we do know that this has also been a priority for the club to improve. Throughout this season we have been asking supporters on match-days to take part in a ‘mystery shop’ and feedback their experience which we have passed onto the club in an effort to improve the service and make it the best it can be.

We have also held several meetings with the club and the catering company Centerplate throughout the season and today we have seen the club announce the following changes:

  • A new prepay system will be trialled in the South Stand vs Crewe this Saturday (12th December), where fans can pre-order their half time alcoholic refreshments so they will be available so soon as the whistle blows, this will mean that you no longer have to miss out on any of the action – or the fantastic atmosphere – to queue for a beverage.
  • A ‘multi queue’ system will also be installed and trialled at the Crewe game which should see a an increase in service speed and reduce the time queueing.
  • There will be changes in service points in the West Stand, these changes have been made strategically to significantly improve the service.
  • Centreplate have also commissioned work to begin on a ‘free flow’ pump system  which will reduce both the service times and the wastage created. This new system should be in operation around February and we look forward to seeing the difference it makes.
  • Alick’s Bar in the West Stand will now also be open at half time in the West Stand and accessible through either the West Stand lift’s or the central stairway. Draught Lager is currently available and the club are hoping that Bitter will also be available via pump in this new facility in the near future.

The DRSG Committee welcome these changes wholeheartedly, but also recognise that this now needs to be delivered on the concourses and be translated from words to a better experience and service that fans will benefit from on a match-day.

We hope to continue our DRSG ‘mystery shop’ surveys as we are keen to ensure a steady flow of feedback is received to guard against complacency and help to identify any issues as soon as they arise.

If you wish to take part in our ‘mystery shop’ survey for any upcoming home game please email info@doncasterroverssupportersgroup.org with your name, contact number and the stand you usually use and we will reply as soon as we can.

As always the DRSG welcome feedback in all shapes and sizes and anyone who wishes to send us feedback are invited to do so using the email address above.

We will continue to work with fans and the club to ensure all aspects of the Matchday experience is improved. We do this work on behalf of our members and the wider fan-base. Our voice however is only as strong as our strength in numbers. Please join the DRSG today and help us to make your matchday better.

Joining is easy, just fill in this form and that’s it! There is no fee (and there never will be), membership is for life and all members have an equal say in how we’re run.

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