By Rob Johnson
Your Grandad loves it. Compilers of grainy black and white footage of people waving scarves around love it. Most of the Premier League treats it with utter contempt. It must be the first round of the FA cup…
The FA cup, perhaps the most famous cup competition in the world, was of course founded by the Viking Supporters Co-Operative in 1871- a full 8 years before Rovers had even formed and decades before any of the founding members had been born. Bravo!
Rovers have a miserable record in the FA cup in the last 20 years having been knocked out by such giants as Stevenage Borough, Exeter City, Scarborough Athletic (RIP) and seemingly every other year, Oldham. Even taking this into account though surely there will be no giant killing at the Keepmoat stadium on Saturday. Rovers opponents Stalybridge Celtic are three tier’s below the reds in the conference North and currently find themselves mid table despite a recent 5-0 capitulation against the mighty AFC Fylde. They also have their massive upcoming clash against Northwich Manchester Villa to think about (they are an actual team).
More importantly Saturdays game marks James Coppinger’s 469th game for Doncaster Rovers. Since signing in 2004 Copps has been ever present throughout an incredibly successful time for the club and has proven to be instrumental time and time again. Copps achievements have been covered at great length elsewhere but he has always been a scorer of important goals, not a goalscorer. After the hat trick against Southend and THAT goal against Brentford though James Coppinger will forever be intrinsically linked to what has been perhaps Rovers most successful ever period.
In terms of team news, this will surely SURELY be the game where Harry Forrester actually starts. If he can’t get on the pitch against Stalybridge Celtic he might as well go and play for Northwich Manchester Villa. Also desperate for a start are Paul Keegan, who impressed when coming on against Colchester, and Dany N’Guessan, who has perhaps been unlucky to lose his place in the starting XI. Also looking to be the ten millionth right back to play behind Copps will be new loan signing Felipe Mattioni. A lot has been made of the fact that Mattioni’s last game came against Real Madrid, much to his annoyance one can only imagine. Can he do it on a cold Saturday afternoon against Stalybridge though?
Elsewhere Mitchell Lund and particularly Harry Middleton seem to be improving with each passing game so this presents a good opportunity for them to continue their development in a perhaps slightly less pressurized environment.
Match Prediction: DRFC 3-1 Stalybridge
Rovers haven’t won consecutive home games since February and they won’t get a better chance than on Saturday. Whatever the starting XI we should have more than enough firepower to see off Stalybridge. Forrester, Tyson and Copps to score.