The first home game of the 2016/17 season really doesn’t fill me with optimism…
With the first two games Rovers have played both ending with conceding crushing goals in extra time, and the injury list being unbelievably long, Darren Ferguson and his team really need to pull their fingers out and try to secure a win on Saturday. Hopefully, however, we might actually be in with a chance.
The last time Rovers faced Crawley Town was during the 2014/15 season on the 10th February. Rovers ended up winning 5-0, with one of the goal scorers being Curtis Main. It is therefore no surprise that the reds got relegated during that season. Last season, Crawley finished 20th in League 2, escaping the relegation zone by 13 points. This season they have started relatively well though, defeating injury-ridden Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 with skipper Jimmy Smith snatching the lead. It is important to note that despite making several new signings over the summer, the Red Devils are still 4th favourites to be relegated to the conference this season.
In terms of team news, Rovers’ squad is still looking relatively thin. Keegan, Baudry and McSheffery aren’t quite fully fit, but are getting very close to making the squad. When it comes to goalkeepers, Fergie has quite a challenge on his hands as neither Marosi or Etheridge have had stellar performances in the two opening games – I genuinely don’t know who he will pick.
The second half of Tuesday’s performance (bar the last minute goal) was a breath of fresh air and Rovers genuinely took control of the game. The Rovers side looked much more impressive than it did at Accrington with newly fit Joe Wright taking control of our defence in an impeccable fashion. The addition of Mandeville in the team also added an element of pace that is lacking where our other strikers are concerned and would definitely compliment John Marquis. Perhaps Mandeville will be brought in for Williams who appears to be struggling with confidence issues (again) of late, after his penalty miss at Accrington.
Prediction: Doncaster Rovers 2 – 1 Crawley Town (Rowe, Marquis)
One can only hope that we build on our decent performance against a Championship side, stop conceding such crushing late goals and kick-start the promotion push we all want and expect this season.