Season predictions

DRSG Predicts – Our view on the coming season

Never ones to miss an opportunity to make ourselves look stupid, we have all put our necks on the line and had a go at predicting what will happen with all things DRFC this season. Let’s see how wrong supposed Rovers experts can be…

Rob Johnson

Where will Rovers finish this season?

Even taking into account my reservations with Darren Ferguson and the 5-3-2 formation, we should be too strong for this level. I’m going to say 3rd and promotion on the final day.

Our best signing and why?

Absolutely Tommy Rowe. The best player in League 2. No pressure son. Really high hopes for Matty Blair too.

Our worst signing and why?

Etheridge is the easy option but everything about John Marquis screams flop, particularly his goals per game ratio of 0.18 goals per game. Happy to be proved wrong though, I am often am.

Top goalscorer?

Obvious answer but Andy Williams all the way. I suspect he would score more in a 4-4-2 but with Rowe, Copps and Blair pulling the strings he should get loads of chances.

League 2 champions and promoted?

Pompey champions, Rovers, Carlisle and Luton promoted.

Surprise package?

Luton. A big club even at this level. Had two solid seasons back in the football league, time for them to push on now. Also think Crewe wont be as bad as expected.

Make or break season?

Definitely Harry Middleton. This is the year he either establishes himself in the starting XI permanently or follows many of his fellow academy graduates into non league.

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

Definitely. Only relegation would see Fergie sacked. Am I happy about it? Not especially.

Relegated teams in League 2?

It’s about time Yeovil went back to non league and I’m going to go Newport County as well.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

I think our squad now would beat our squad of last May quite comfortably which says more about how unprepared were for League 1 than anything else.

Finally in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League

Man City, Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall, Liverpool and Man City again.

Lizzie Robinson

Where will Rovers finish this season?

I was absolutely convinced we’d win the league. Then 8 players all got injured at once. This puts me in a slightly trickier situation, but I’m going to say we’ll make the play offs – I really want a trip to London on the ‘Sunshine Bus’ next year. I’m going to say 4th, and we’ll win at Wembley.

Our best signing and why?

Tommy Rowe. Not only is he a beautiful man, he is far too good to be playing in League 2. He was far too good for us last season when we were dwindling at the bottom of League 1, so how we’ve managed to secure him is totally beyond me. It really showed the board’s intent for the season ahead.

Our worst signing and why?

It seems that Fergie has an issue with Ross Etheridge already. In interviews he has stated that he feels the new keeper has struggled to adapt to the training methods at Cantley Park, and part of me genuinely thinks that (due to recent high praise) Marosi might even make the starting line-up. Any player who struggles to train is a major concern in my opinion.

Top goalscorer?

It has to be Andy Williams, right? I can’t see it being anyone else. Despite him being outrageously inconsistent last season, missing sitters all over the place and struggling with confidence, he still managed to score 16 goals. In a lower league against shoddy defences, imagine the amount of goals he’ll score.

League 2 champions and promoted?

I reckon Plymouth will win it. Portsmouth and Leyton Orient will probably get promoted too, and we’ll obviously win at Wembley.

Surprise package?

I don’t think Grimsby will do as badly as everyone may expect, they could even finish in a playoff position. Although we’ll absolutely thrash them on both occasions we meet.

Make or break season?

I’m going to say Paul Keegan. As much as I adore him, he really needs to prove why he’s still here this season by somehow managing to stay fit throughout. He is currently a liability and struggles to string a succession of appearances together without taking a knock of some sort. He needs to show Fergie that he is worth keeping, because even I have my doubts. If he stays fit he has the potential to become a Rovers legend, him being injured takes up unnecessary wages.

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

Going to be an optimist, which is always dangerous as a Rovers fan, and say yes… if he sorts out the defence.

Relegated teams in League 2?

Yeovil, and with a heavy heart I reckon Blackpool.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

I’d be much happier if they were all fit to start against Accrington (bar ATS of course). We’ve signed a lot of decent players, and gotten rid of some dead weight too. However, Dany N’Guessann is still taking up space in the treatment room.

Finally in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League

Manchester United, Newcastle, Millwall, Man City, Barcelona I guess, definitely not Leicester…

Neil Taylor

Where will Rovers finish this season?

Top of the league by a 5 point margin. (Although I’m writing this thread morning after Accrington so I’ve had my faith shaken slightly, I was going to predict a 10 point margin).

Our best signing and why?

Tommy Rowe. Not only our best signing but our best player since we were last in the Championship.

Our worst signing and why?

Etheridge. Doesn’t fill me with confidence, doesn’t seem to communicate with his defence and definitely not a step up from Stuckie. He’s a worry.

Top goalscorer?

Williams. Not only top scorer for Rovers or even League 2, probably the top scorer in the whole of the football league.

League 2 champions and promoted?

Rovers, Portsmouth, Grimsby. Playoffs: Luton

Surprise package?

Grimsby. There’s a habit of writing off newly promoted Conference sides, we should know, that was once us.

Make or break season?

Keegan. Surely this must be his last chance to stand for us, assuming he can stay fit (ha!).

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

Yes. Either manager of Rovers or Lakeside McDonald’s because if he fucks this up again he’ll not be working in football.

Relegated teams in League 2?

Newport County, Colchester United.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

Fergie has made some very astute signings and one absolutely stand out in Tommy “beautiful bastard” Rowe. We’re a better side than we were last season, can’t really ask much more than that, can you?

Finally, in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League:

Manchester United, Newcastle, Millwall, Manchester City…. Champions League? I follow European with as much attention as I do when someone’s giving me a set of long directions. Dunno, Barca? Does that sound like an answer that someone who knows what he’s talking about would give? (Ed – Yes it does.)

Flem

Where will Rovers finish this season?

I’m really not confident this season. Two relegations in 3 years has knocked all confidence out of me and I think we will be lucky to reach the play offs. I’m going to say 8th.

Our best signing and why?

Tommy Rowe. Has to be. Why he decided to plump for an average pub side languishing in league 2 I’ll never know.

Our worst signing and why?

Gary McSheffrey. Although he had glimpses of the player of old last season, I feel he doesn’t add much to the side at the age of 96…

Top goalscorer?

Andy Williams, not because he’s great and prolific but because of his lack of competition. Hopefully, Marquis can give him a kick up the arse and he can start raising his conversion rate.

League 2 champions and promoted?

Pompy, Carlisle, Yeovil. Playoffs: Luton

Surprise package?

Yeovil. I have a feeling that they will come good this season after a disappointing season last time out and I tip them to be up there come May.

Make or break season?

Williams. Coming with high expectations last season he didn’t do enough. He needs to find the goals that he was scoring for fun at Swindon or he could find himself a league 2 striker till he retires and winds up working in the trainer section in Sports Direct.

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

Depends. With our history of sacking successful managers and rewarding the shit ones, I can see us finishing mid table and Fergie being offered a 10 year extension.

Relegated teams in League 2?

Newport, Colchester.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

Definitely! I’m really happy we still have ATS kicking about in there. I think he’s one of best I’ve seen in our shirt for a number of years.

Finally, in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League

City, Villa, Franchise FC, Pompey, Arsenal, Dundalk

Lewis Grimes

Where will Rovers finish this season?

I think our support (much like last season) will be unwavering in their optimism. I however, struggle to feel the same enthusiasm for life under Fergie Jnr, i don’t feel that ‘keeping hold of our players’ is a particularly laudable achievement given how badly they all let us down last season and I see us starting with the same formation and having the same headaches as last season. This is a physical league and investing faith in youth will see a very busy physio’s table and a very limp season of performances and (hopefully) a change of management eventually. Final position: 16th.

Our best signing and why?

Surely every supporter will be unanimous in bafflement as to why a quality such as Tommy Rowe has decided to stick around? Either way he might be the only shining light of creativity in an otherwise squalid midfield.

Our worst signing and why?

Ross Etheridge. Having not seen him put in a performance its hard to be too critical of him, but this is now yet another changed mind on our man-between-the-sticks from Fergie and yet another figure that doesn’t strike me as any better rated than those before him? With Stuckmann still under contract, it seems nothing more than a side-step at best and ignorance at worst. Stuckmann offered sure hands for a lot of last season in front of a frankly diabolical defence and his being driven from our first team demonstrates the disregard Fergie seems to show to strong characters – one that might prove to be his downfall.

Top goalscorer?

I really fancy Jon Marquis to shine in League 2 for us, fresh club, fresh confidence and plenty of game-time might make him our target man where Williams struggles for form. Its a shame Tyson never gave us a chance as I think he’d have excelled at this level.

League 2 champions and promoted?

In my ignorance I have to admit I don’t know a whole lot about League 2 as it seems to fall from my attention when we aren’t in it… so I’ll have to make uneducated punts. Champions – Portsmouth (out of financial difficult now right??) Promoted – Cambridge United, Grimsby, Carlisle.

Surprise package?

Grimsby Town.

Make or break season?

Paul Keegan. I have been a real Keegs worshipper of the past and have seen him make himself the most important man on the pitch at times. SOD clearly saw him as the shrewd investment when he proved to be at his best, but injuries and lack of consistent game  time followed by a manager who seems to not hold any regard for defensive qualities has rendered Keegan frustrating. A tough tackling, no nonsense, experienced character on the pitch in a muddy and physical League 2 could prove vital to us clawing our way through games but whether a 32 year old Keegan can muster up the effort in the back-end of his time as a Rovers player remains to be seen.

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

Depends. If you’re asking what I hope for, or what I actually think? Based on his inability to motivate our squad and inflexible approach to football I would hope he might have taken leave early on this season allowing us to flourish in a second half of the season. However, I feel our apathetic board will see him as a manager that is above the stature of others in this league and persevere regardless of lacklustre results. Anything but relegation zone will see him safe I’m afraid and that old line ‘We’re investing in long-term strategies with youth’ will be peddled out.

Relegated teams in League 2?

Again, I have no idea: Exeter City, Notts County.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

I think retaining Williams and somehow securing Rowe have been phenomenal signals of intent. Losing Stuckmann, Tyson and captaining Coppinger all seem to be negative set-backs in my opinion though and I fear that lessons from last season haven’t been learnt. I fully expect we will be loaning in a 19 year old RB from Villa to plug a known gap within the month and him to look like he’s never played football before in his life. The squad is still threadbare and too much faith is still invested in certain players that have proven previously shit suddenly not being shit because we’re in a lower league.

Finally, in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League

Man City, Norwich, Bury, Liverpool, Juventus.

Wesley Grimes

Where will Rovers finish this season?

7th.

Our best signing and why?

Tommy Rowe. I was stunned when we signed him. Far too good to be playing in our shower of shite last season. Bags of energy and a never say die attitude.

Our worst signing and why?

Gary McSheffrey – The polar opposite of Tommy Rowe. Too old, potential to be laid on the injury table for long spells.  I’d have liked to have seen us pull an up and comer from the lower leagues instead.

Top goalscorer?

John Marquis.

League 2 champions and promoted?

Luton Town
Portsmouth
Plymouth
Doncaster Rovers (playoffs)

Surprise package?

Crewe Alexandra.

Make or break season?

Cedric Evina.

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

Yes.

Relegated teams in League 2?

Morecambe, Blackpool.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

I don’t feel we’ve been ruthless enough with the squad and a few players got away with their sub standard performances. However, we did our business early with signings of decent pedigree for this level. If Fergie can’t get this lot playing his days are numbered.

Finally, in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League:

Manchester City, Aston Villa, Millwall, Arsenal, Barcelona.
Adam Stubbings

Where will Rovers finish this season?

I’m going to hedge my bets a little and predict us to finish 5th. I think the play-offs are the absolute minimum we need to be aiming for, and automatic isn’t out of the question but it’s a tough league and there are a few well equipped sides.

Our best signing and why?

On paper it should really be Mathieu Baudry. Our defence is crying out for a leader, somebody strong and when he gets fit I expect Baudry will fill that role. He has the experience and the ability, from what we’ve seen in the past.

Our worst signing and why?

I don’t think pulling down players before they’ve even had the chance to play for us is really fair, so I don’t think anyone we’ve signed is our ‘worst’ signing. I’d say we can’t really judge this until towards the end of the season.

Top goalscorer?

It has to be Andy Williams. He has the talent, knows where the net is and having scored 16 goals last term at a higher level, he should be aiming for a minimum of 20 goals this season.

League 2 champions and promoted?

It’s hard to look past Portsmouth for the title. I know they’ve flattered to deceive in the last few seasons but surely they cannot continue to underachieve. They’ve made strong signings and have stability in the boardroom and the dugout at last, so Ii think they will go up as champions this time round. I’m plumping for Luton and Plymouth to go up behind them, both have a strong backbone and will be tough to beat.  Plymouth have had a high turnover of players but again seem to have recruited well on paper.

Surprise package?

I fancy Cambridge to surprise a few people and potentially make the play-offs. They’ve only been back in the league a couple of seasons but seem to be building year on year and they have some dangerous players, particularly Luke Berry, Piero Mingoia and Harrison Dunk.

Make or break season?

Andy Williams. He may have been our top scorer last season but he has a tendency to go missing in games for weeks on end and loses his concentration far too easily. If he doesn’t score 20-25 league goals this term then he has failed, as he’s clearly too good for this league when on form. We need a reliable goalscorer up front and he should be that.

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

I hope so, because if he is it’ll mean we’ve had a successful season and are at least in the top 7. If we don’t get off to a good start, the pressure is on straight away and I wouldn’t expect the owners to give him much longer than they gave Dickov last year. He’s failed in his edict to keep us in League One, now there can be absolutely no excuses if he doesn’t have us competing for promotion from August onwards. (Ed – I’m going to have to push you for a definitive answer) Ha alright, I’ll say that he will still be the manager come the end of the season then, marrying with my prediction that we’ll finish in the top 7.

Relegated teams in League 2?

They may have beaten us as recently as April but I think Crewe are in big trouble. Their squad looks devoid of talent, they’re on a massive downward trajectory and might find it hard to swim the tide in League Two. Crawley have opted for an inexperienced manager and have signed 16 new players, many of whom are total unknown qualities. We will soon find out what these sides are like though since we play both in our opening six games.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

Just about, yes. I said in June that we needed to make 12 signings and by my count we’ve made 11 now. I think we still need another striker as Williams and Marquis are the only senior options up top, but our recruitment has been good and we’ve brought in some experienced players for this level. The biggest thing will be keeping (or getting) these players fit, because when a few players go down with injuries we suddenly look a bit threadbare despite having the numbers in.

Finally, in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League:

Manchester City, Newcastle United, Millwall, Manchester City & Barcelona.

Lee Croft

Where will Rovers finish this season?

I’m going to say 3rd – but we should be aiming for no less than 1st and 100 points

Our best signing and why?

Matheiu Baudry – Looks to be a very talented individual whose future is going to be higher than League Two Level, I think this signing above all is the statement that the club are at least aiming for a return at the first time of asking. 

Our worst signing and why?

Our worst signing has to be Aaron Taylor Sinclair’s sicknote for obvious reasons. If that answer isn’t eligible then I will have to go with Gary McSheffrey. He’s as old as time and spent his time before us last season struggling for Scunthorpe United. 

Top goalscorer?

Without a doubt it should be Andy Williams but it wouldn’t surprise me if Marquis proved he has more fire than expected and tips Williams to the golden boot.

League 2 champions and promoted?

Plymouth and Pompey will probably battle it out for the title with Pompey probably winning the league, Rovers will be some way behind in 3rd and play-offs? Stevenage look to have enough ambition to challenge to return to League One after a disappointing season last term.

Surprise package?

Stevenage (see above).

Make or break season?

Tommy Rowe, just over a year after the leg break that resulted in him being dropped to Wolves bench/Scunthorpe starting line-up (both equally bad) this will tell whether he can take his form from the back end of last season and show some consistency. 

Will Fergie still be manager on the final day of the season?

He managed to oversee our implosion last season and despite Rovers being relegated after being expected to challenge for top six he remained manager so I dread to think what Fergie has to do before we decide enough is enough. 

Relegated teams in League 2?

Morecambe’s days in League Two look to be numbered with each passing season and Crawley will probably also be in the drop zone come May, which is no less than any team that has employed Steve Evans deserves.

Are you happy with how the squad looks now compared to May?

Yes, although personally I’d have liked to have seen 1 or 2 more regulars from last season depart after our capitulation. Namely those such as Copps who were non-existent all season despite playing in 30+ games. I don’t know how Fergie had the nerve to keep him in the first team, never mind as captain!

Finally, in order: Winners of Prem, Champo, L1, FA Cup and Champs League:

West Ham, Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers ,(no answer submitted) & Bayern Munich.

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