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Blackpool FC vs Doncaster Rovers: Match Preview

Three wins in a row have taken Rovers to within striking distance of leaders Plymouth, but everyone will be looking for improvement after a laboured showing last time out…

Saturday’s win over Colchester was earned thanks largely to the heroics of goalkeeper Marko Marosi, rather than any sort of excellent play from Rovers, and without him or Tommy Rowe we would easily have lost the game. There can be no repeat of that aimless display here, as we head to Bloomfield Road looking to pile on the misery for out-of-sorts Blackpool.

The Seasiders have endured a plunge down the pyramid even steeper than ourselves these last few years, and continue to struggle as the 2016/17 season begins to take shape. Gary Bowyer’s men sit 17th in the table, only two points above the relegation zone, and things are far from sunny on the coast. The ongoing dictatorial rule of the abhorrent Oyston family is crippling the club, and we here at DRSG continue to support the beleaguered Blackpool fans in their endeavours to save their team.

On the field, things aren’t going any better. Four games this month have yielded no wins, and the manner of defeat in their latest fixture away at Accrington is a scenario we know all too well. Two goals in the dying minutes snatched the points away from Blackpool, Stanley winning 2-1 to move into the top 7 and extend Blackpool’s winless run.

Their last victory came at home, an impressive 3-1 victory over Portsmouth, but Rovers should be encouraged by the apparent fragility of their opponents despite their desire to bounce back from that stinging late defeat last week. We only have two wins in the last dozen meetings to boast here, but will be keen for revenge; remembering that disappointing Easter Monday home defeat as our League One place slipped away should add extra impetus.

Mathieu Baudry is pushing for a first start after another strong substitute appearance, whilst Cedric Evina may count himself lucky to line up alongside the Frenchman this weekend after YET another poor outing at left back. Liam Mandeville remains the favourite to start up front now Andy Williams’ long term absence is confirmed (wives lament). He too will need to improve on his performance against Colchester if he is to be taken seriously as a Rovers first teamer.

One to Watch

With 4 goals and 5 assists to his name already this term, Brad Potts is the main playmaker for Blackpool. The midfielder, a young talent signed from Carlisle a year ago, will cause numerous problems for the Rovers defence, who will need to do their best to stifle his creativity and output.

Big Weekend

Liam Mandeville can maybe be forgiven a quiet outing last weekend after a poor team performance, but the teenager must step up and show he can fill the role vacated by the injured Williams soon or else he will not be kept in the side. Other young talents are pushing to take his place, and it would be hard to argue with Alfie Beestin replacing him if it is another shy display here.

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.

5 things to do instead of going to watch EFL Trophy Fixtures

As I’m sure you’re all woefully unaware tonight marks the beginning of the English football league’s brand new, shit-smeared format for the EFL Trophy (formally the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy).

No doubt we all squealed with delight at the thought of having to pay yet another 20 odd quid to see our proud boys square off against a Norwich youth side in a match of total insignificance for a trophy of little prestige. Reality has drawn us in our ‘group’ opener against Mansfield; a match with all sorts of genuinely exciting, meaningful and passionate connotations (scabs, scabs, scabs) soiled by a trophy that has undergone such a politically and financially dubious re-brand. Naturally, we at the DRSG (as well as loads of other supporters across the country) have called for a boycott of these fixtures, for the sake of both our sanity, dignity and our bank balances.

Knowing you however, the apathetic, lonely, bored and feckless lower-league football supporter, we’re more than aware how difficult it might be to turn down the temptation of blowing a tenner on wasting a night in another shite northern cess-pit. So to counter this we’ve decided to comp together a list of suggestions for things that you could do that would definitely be more fulfilling than going to watch any EFL Trophy matches:

1.) Do the same shit you do every other night that the EFL Trophy doesn’t exist.

That’s right, you the reader being the stereotypical football supporter this means we’re suggesting you cosy in with your Iceland frozen curry, watch endless re-runs of Top Gear specials, share the shit out of Lad Bible memes and wank yourself furiously to Habbo Hotel. (Just us then?)

2.) Go and actually play some football.

That’s right, football isn’t just a sport reserved for moisturised, tattooed dickheads! You too, the urban dickhead, can enjoy a good old fashioned game of togger too. Get yourself down to the Keepmoat Stadium cages to add an extra ‘edge’ to your boycott by spending your hard earned pennies on our cash-thirsty club anyway; there’s a small chance you’ll shift a few pounds, and a large chance you’ll play better than ATS does every week.

3.) Take a maniac out for a pint

Being a Rovers fan, it’s only natural we assume you are a total social recluse with a desperate desire to have friends. Good news! Being from a town with literally nothing else to do on an evening but get shit-faced there’s a whole host of like-minded desperate souls who’ll gladly share a pint and a story about the good old days about when they got caned at school and life daan t’pit. Doncaster town centre is a real hive for these toothless, thirsty companions; why not take that scruffy bloke who’s ‘lost his key’ for a 99p J-bomb?
If you lack the motivation to actually go outside, Viking Chat’s ‘Off Topic’ section offers a similar experience to spend your night debating with pissed up, foggy old Croaks.

 

4.) Book yourself in for some cosmetic surgery.

If you happen to have read John Ryan’s eloquently penned auto-biography ‘Dare to Dream’ you might have noticed a few subtle, between-the-lines references to a plastic surgery company that offers to Make Yourself Amazing. If nothing else, being involved in the DRSG has taught us one thing; that being a rovers fan goes hand in hand with being physically repulsive. If you are one of the masses of cretinous monstrosities that closer resembles football catering to actual human, perhaps a little time on the surgeons table wouldn’t go amiss. A little face-lift or hair-replacement never hurt anyone (apart from actual literal pain it causes); Dean Saunders and John Ryan can testify to it themselves.

5.)Start up a Rovers based supporters group.

Allow us to assure you that being part of a supporters group for rovers fans is wholly fulfilling and not at all a fruitless procrastination from all those things you should be doing like getting better jobs, being nice to your wives or girlfriends, or coming to terms with your rampant, closeted homosexuality. A club like ours deserves at least 3 more supporters groups to palm their personal opinions off as those of the masses and to swan about the stadium with an overwhelming sense of self-importance. With the famous DRSG vs VSC spat being simmered to near luke-warm perhaps its time for a more volatile, more committed and far better looking band of idiots to set up their own group to pretend they’re making a difference with. Viva la revolution!

So there you have it! You have no excuse to be suckered into attending this frankly disgraceful fixture, when all 5 of our alternative evening plans would prove far more beneficial to your mental health, social life and in some cases physical appearance. Enjoy your night off from the relentless grind of being a disregarded football fan, and I’ll see you all on Habbo Hotel!

The Football League Trophy – a commercial execution

The football league trophy has never been the most glamorous or sought after bauble in the footballing world. Such is the low status of the FLT, that even the football fan’s most commonly evoked spokesman, Nick Hornby, was withering and dismissive of the competition in his book Fever Pitch commenting ‘what the hell is buried in the subconscious of people who go to Leyland DAF Trophy  games?’.

Since 1984, the Football League Trophy has afforded 23 clubs (and one franchise in MK Dons) the opportunity of winning silverware. The clubs involved are mostly unfashionable and traditionally unsuccessful outfits who otherwise would never have had the chance to walk out at Wembley (or even the Millennium Stadium which is where the finals were held during Wembley’s redevelopment). Whilst it is certainly true that neither the fans nor the clubs care little about the FLT until the latter stages of the tournament, the same could also be said of the League Cup and Premier League clubs. The difference being that Premier League clubs are not forced to play a certain number of first team players with the threat of a fine hanging over them. The clubs in the bottom two divisions however, are fined, if they rest a certain number of players from the previous league game – a ludicrous practice that only discourages academy graduates enjoying more game time.

For presumably commercial reasons, there has long been wringing of hands at the FA as to how they can make the Football League Trophy more desirable. It is odd that the FA and the Football League cannot see the FLT for what it is; a minor but meaningful competition that most clubs cannot afford to take seriously. Constant efforts to rebrand the competition seem misguided and unnecessary but never before have such attempts proved controversial and odious… until now.

Following the rebranding of the Football League to the English Football League, the FLT has also been rebranded. Constant rebranding has become ubiquitous in football but it is not just a name change that has caused consternation amongst fans of lower league football clubs. In their wisdom, the powers that be (and indeed the football league clubs themselves) have decided that 15 Premier League academies (and Newcastle to make 16) will join the competition as well as all clubs from leagues 1 and 2. The Premier League has shown nothing but contempt for lower league clubs so for them to now muscle in on the only trophy that is truly ours is galling in the extreme.

Would Rovers dramatic victory over Bristol Rovers in 2007 have been as enjoyable if played against Stoke City’s kids? Of course not. It would have rendered the entire game meaningless, a glorified friendly. Make no mistake; this is, once again, a decision made entirely for commercial gain, with no interest in the fallout for fans of the clubs involved. Football league clubs voted in favour, mostly without consulting their supporters in any capacity, and we are expected to accept all changes, no matter the impact on the importance of the competition itself.

With that in mind we have no choice but to call for a full boycott of all Doncaster Rovers fans from attending any FLT fixtures while ever Premier League academies are included. It might be a Mickey Mouse cup but it is ours. Having said that, we are unwilling to make a final decision on this issue without first consulting our fellow supporters.

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ROVERS: IT’S FERGIE TIME

On behalf of our members and Doncaster Rovers fans, the DRSG Committee would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new manager Darren Ferguson to the club and look forward to this exciting new chapter for the Rovers.

We believe this to be a great capture by the club, after what was a lengthy selection process it seemed throughout that Ferguson stood out as the favourite for many supporters and it seems we have the right result are the end of it.

We are sure the Black Bank will be in full force tomorrow and give Ferguson Jr a great vocal welcome. It’s important as supporters that we all get behind the new manager and show our support as we look to rise up the table.

It’s Fergie Time

Paul Dickov Sacked as manager

Its official!

After much speculation, disagreement, statistics and frustration and no doubt plenty of consideration by our usually dormant board they have finally decided it is the right time to show Paul Dickov the door.

Following an unarguably disappointing start to the campaign that has seen us gather just 6 points from our opening 6 matches through a series of lacklustre performances in which we seem to be fruitless in front of goal it seems most fans, bar the odd maniac, had turned on the scot.

His number seemed up when irrepressible shyster, internet gob and quality t-shirt manufacturer Robert Ghosh made his ‘Dickov Out’ campaign public at the meet the owners, and Dickov (in one of his finest moments as Rovers manager) called the young antagonist a “nob”.

Speculation has already begun about his replacement, no doubt Dave Penney, SOD, Saunders, Sammy Chung, Kevin Keegan, Brain Flynn and Fred Emery will all be suggested by respected nostalgia hunters and will undoubtedly find their way onto an odds list somewhere.

Onwards and upwards for the Rovers, here’s hoping the new appointment’s name will fit in an easy to learn, repetitive song so the Black Bank can repeat it endlessly with mild enthusiasm.

RTID.

 

Paul Dickov – Stay or go?

 

Paul Dickov - for and

The case against – by Stuart Sidebottom

Is Paul Dickov the worst Doncaster Rovers manager since Kerry Dixon?
DRFC manager stats
The answer is clear. Yes fans may say we have a very small budget, but look at the ratio for Ian Snodin with a non-existent budget! The team are letting the manager down; but it’s the manager’s’ responsibility to motivate. I’ve never seen the team looking so de-motivated. We can sit and provide excuses all day but the facts don’t lie. Since Dickov’s reign we’ve the lowest win ratio since Dixon; only picking up a point every two and a half games. The average spell in charge is currently 108 games; personally, wouldn’t let Dickov’s spell go beyond this.
Anyone that can disagree with statistics is clearly lacking ambition for the club.

 

The case for – by Lee Croft

 

 

4 games into the season 0 wins and 1 goal,  Rovers fans are already knee-jerking and calling for Dickov’s head which comes as no great shock given how his head was called for on many occasions in the last 14 or so months.

 

I plan to put forward the case of why Dickov should be given the benefit of the doubt and the first point of defence is one of patience. We are only 4 games into the season and have only lost once. The nature of it was quite painful with 3 games where we couldn’t score for love nor money (apart from Forrester’s ‘accidental’ goal) yet managed a draw and a heavy loss at the hands of Port Vale.

 

But, yesterday’s game aside and the 3 previous games we actually showed quality, the football was much better and on a different day we would have won. The only thing stopped us taking 3 points in each of those first 3 games was poor finishing, but we were creating chances and you have to ask why Dickov should take the blame for that. He has brought in a natural finisher in Andy Williams who looks to have hit the ground running and has put in some solid performances but just hasn’t had that rub of the green to see his efforts hit the back of the net.

 

Furthermore is 4 games enough to write a season off? Of course it isn’t, promotion or relegation isn’t sealed by then and there is still 126 points left to play for. It is guaranteed that in every season you have a bad run, and it’s probably best to get it out of your system in the first few games and have your better run in during the business end of the season.

 

My next point would be to ask Rovers fans to judge Dickov on the job he has been given to do. Naturally fans want results and promotion and that is the bottom line, but it is no secret that Dickov has been asked to do this with a new philosophy of using a mixture of experienced players along with giving younger players a chance to flourish. This seems to be the right balance in our squad this season and Dickov has been very good in recruitment with experience brought in with Williams, Chaplow, Stuckmann, N’Guessan and MacKenzie to join Butler, Jones, Coppinger, Wellens and Tyson. Then you have the younger players coming through the ranks with Middleton not looking out of place so far this season, Lund and Whitehouse providing back up, Evina and McCollough also looking set to build on their careers and the addition of Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who looks to be a rising star.

 

Based on the performances alone and Dickov seems to have found the right mix and when we have played to our strengths we looked nothing short of fantastic, until we put the ball in the box. Considering we aren’t even out of August yet it would seem strange and stupid to upset this balance by bringing in a new manager who will undoubtedly look to bring in his own players. I fail to see how despite the poor start to the season, Dickov is being judged as not good enough when most of these players haven’t had much chance to play together and learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

 

My final and probably most convincing point would be that of timing. Considering the transfer window closes in just over a week, it leaves little time to bring a replacement in who has enough time to sign (or sell) some players. Hardly the best advert to attract potential managers. What’s more is that of the cost of sacking Dickov will mean compensation and then having to find more money to pay his replacement. Considering how we now need to be looking at the market for replacements with Tyson and Forrester already sidelined, wasting any money left on replacing a manager given how there is only 4 games gone could be more catastrophic than any scenario when Paul Dickov stays.

 

In conclusion I think Dickov still has room for improvement, and I would agree that he must simply improve. I feel this season will probably be his last season to show us what he can do, but I feel 42 games gives us more than enough time. These debates are often pointless and has little impact on what ultimately happens, however what we can do is join forces together in the stands and show our support to the club, bother players and managers. If they have enough passion to wear the badge, then they will have my support.

 

 

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ROVERS VS BURY: MATCH PREVIEW BY ROB JOHNSON

Rovers pre season, whilst containing many positives, has posed more questions than answers. Does Dickov really expect us to get in the play offs with Mitchell Lund and Rob Jones in the starting XI all season? Where will Forrester play? How will he incorporate Keegan, Wellens and Chaplow? Is Lewis Guy coming back? The opening game of the season will see at least some of these questions answered.

The first game of the season is always special as all the optimism and aspirations are yet to be dampened by reality. Who can forget glorious recent opening day victories at Brisbane Road or Pride Park? Or the drama that unfolded at the Amex? Fingers crossed Saturdays game will be just as memorable.

Bury have spent the summer busily signing anyone that Rovers have been linked with, with experienced strikers Leon Clarke and Tom Pope arriving at Gigg Lane as well as former Huddersfield and Blackpool centre back Peter Clarke. For Rovers there could potentially be six debutants with Mackenzie, Stuckmann, Williams, Chaplow, Taylor-Sinclair and N’Guessan all in line to feature at some stage.

Rovers 137th season is a crucial one for manager Paul Dickov. After two turbulent pre seasons and two ultimately disappointing campaigns Dickov has nowhere to hide for the 2015-16 season. If there is no improvement from his previous two seasons (and his time at Oldham) than it will surely be time for Rovers to look elsewhere. I really hope PD proves me wrong but I fear that he has shown nothing thus far to suggest he is the man to take Rovers forward. We will have a better idea of his standing after Saturdays game.

Match Prediction: 2-0 to the reds. If you can’t be optimistic on the opening day than there is pretty much no hope for you. Goals from Coppinger and Tyson.

THE BIG DRFC QUIZ

Doncaster Rovers Quiz

Doncaster Rovers Quiz

Think you know your Rovers? Then take our 25 question quiz and find out!

Don’t forget to register your name and email address to feature on our DRFC quiz leader board so all future Rovers fans can see how great (or poor) your DRFC knowledge really is!

Darius Vassell announced for the Legends Game

Ex Aston Villa, Man City, Leicester, England and more importantly Ankaragücü legend has been announced as the newest addition to the Eve Merton Dreams Trust Legend match at the Keepmoat on the 23rd May! (This saturday)

Not many  England players have had such a contrasting time in the uncomplimentary glow of international limelight as Darius Vassell – probably, and rather unfairly remebered for missing THAT penalty in 2004. However, his glorious overhead kick 2 years earlier in a Man Of The Match performance against Netherlands should surely have earnt him his position in legend folklore.

Vassells 6 goals in 22 international caps must have made an impact on the ‘seductive-swede’ Sven Goran Eriksson as he decided to sign him for his Leicester squad years later.

To run with the Dave Beasant salad cream mishap Vassell also had a famously bizarre injury – he decided upon noticing a blood blister under his big toenail to take a Black and Decker to it and drill a hole through. Grim! This resulted in a blood infection and no doubt countless ‘no more nails’ related DIY jokes at his expense. (You’d hope).

So, the people of Doncaster are being spoilt rotten now with the lineup leaks coming through nicely – its a genuinely impressive collection of proper footballing world legends and a few of our own Viking Legends too, so get yoursen down with tickets on sale for just £5 an Adult and £3 per child!! Theres no excuse!!

The Charity Legends Game will be taking place at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday 23rd May with a team of Football Legends going up against a team of a team of charity fundraisers, mostly made up of school teachers representing their academies, colleges and schools. Tickets are priced at £5 for Adults and £3 for Children. Family Tickets (2 adults and 2 children) are available for just £10 and if that wasn’t all; DRFC fans can save 50% off with their DRFC Season Ticket.

 

And it all goes to a great cause, read more here:

http://www.evestrust.co.uk/