Rovers return to league action following their dramatic penalty win over Leeds United with a trip to 2013 FA cup winners Wigan Athletic.
It has been a summer of upheaval at the DW stadium with manager Gary Caldwell overseeing 16 departures including big names such as Scott Carson, Jermaine Pennant and erm… Aaron Taylor-Sinclair as well as former Rover Marc-Antoine Fortune allowed to leave. 12 players have come in at Wigan with former premier league players such as Jussi Jaaskelainen rubbing shoulders with more established lower league players such as the spectacularly named Max Power who has arrived from Tranmere Rovers. Wigan have also paid one million pound for Brentford striker Will Grigg who hit 22 goals for MK Franchise last season.
Despite all these big signings Wigan have had an awful start to the season, following up an opening day defeat at Coventry with limping out of the league cup against Bury on Tuesday night. Wigan have flitted in between the top two divisions for the last decade or so but I remember glorious victories for the Rovers over Wigan at Belle Vue including a 5-3 cracker back in 1994.
Rovers should go into the Wigan game full of confidence following the glorious victory over Leeds on Thursday night. It will be interesting to see if 120 minutes and penalties creates a strain on the Rovers squad with Wellens surely unable to play Saturday, Thursday, Sunday.
Elsewhere Middleton probably did enough to keep his place and McCullough looks set to continue at right back with the absence of any better options. Frustratingly Rovers seem to be a couple of players away from being genuine promotion contenders and we will know where we stand on that issue a bit more after the Wigan game as they will surely be contenders come the end of the season.
DRFC fan Rob Johnson gives us his preview of the upcoming game this Sunday when local rivals Scunthorpe travel up the ‘M180’ for what is hoped to be a tasty final fixture.
Rovers latest embarrassment against Notts County now makes it no wins in seven whilst a rejuvinated Scunthorpe have lost just once in eight games and will now finish above Rovers should they win on Sunday – something that would have been unthinkable a few short weeks ago. Indeed to further drive the point home Rovers best player in recent weeks has been Scunthorpe’s Theo Robinson…
I have spoke a lot about recent games being meaningless and on paper the final home game of the season is just that. Dickov has taken it upon himself to start throwing young players in the starting line up seemingly at random, the latest beneficiary being the highly rated Jack McKay.
Whilst blooding products of the youth system is to be encouraged in the right situation is it really appropriate when you have won only two out of your last twelve games and none in seven? Experience is always welcome but what will playing in these games do for the younger players confidence especially in front of hostile and frustrated crowd? And what of the fans who have been asked to pay for the privilege of watching what is essentially a reserve team being comfortably beaten by one of the worst sides in the division in Notts County?
Paul Dickov has rendered the end of the season utterly meaningless on the playing field with his scattershot approach to team selection and failure to motivate his players. The players themselves have contributed to the malaise with timid and at times pathetic showings and the board have taken any sting out of the tail off the field by making it very clear that Dickov’s job is safe no matter what happens. So again on paper this couldn’t be a more meaningless game…
…But luckily football is about the fans, and for the fans Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United will never be a meaningless game. It is short excited journeys up the M180 and dejected trudges back home. It is Mickey Norburys hat trick and Billy Sharp’s beautiful exposed torso. It is tedious 0-0 draws and stunning 4-3 victories all watched with the same level of tension and passion and bitter rivalry, it is Gregg Blundell wheeling away in jubilation on Boxing Day in front of 2000 people going mental in the Popular Stand, but most of all, above everything else it is OUR derby. So forget about Dickov in or out. Forget about Bramall and Watson. Remember WE are the fans, WE are the club, and there is nothing fucking meaningless about Rovers vs Scunny.
See you next season.
Rob’s prediction: 0-0
Rovers fan Rob Johnson gives us his Match Preview ahead of the Rovers clash with the Magpies this Saturday at Meadow Lane…
The Rovers squad will no doubt be disgusted to have to rise from their sun loungers and remove their flip flops for another game that is totally meaningless for us but vital for the opposition.
After the 3-0 humbling at MK Dons, Rovers have now gone 6 long games without a victory and I think we all want to put this disappointing season behind us as quickly as possible. Probably not as much as the Notts County fans though who have now waited a nauseating 11 games to see the Magpies register a victory. ‘I’ll probably get accused of being stupid, naive and everything else but we competed really well’ commented a beleaguered Paul Dickov on Tuesday night – he has been accused of being a fair few worse things by some sections of the rovers faithful as well but two strong victories against teams below us in the table (especially against local rivals Scunthorpe) would go some way to restoring a bit of pride and Notts County are one of only three teams in league 1 that have somehow managed to lose more home games than we have.
Rovers have made enough laughable defensive errors to make Nick Hancock blush this season and even man mountain Rob Jones triumphant return against Orient seems to have been a false dawn after the three goals shipped against MK Dons – still at least they can reminisce with Notts County’s Mustapha Dumbaya about some of the glorious goals we conceded when he was at DRFC…
The encouraging thing from a footballing point of view is we have nothing to lose and Notts County, needing a victory to avoid relegation, have to come out and attack us so on paper this should be quite an entertaining game but we have already played out a drab 0-0 draw and atrocious 0-1 defeat against Notts County at the Keepmoat this season so maybe don’t expect too much.
Prediction Notts County 1-2 DRFC Leroy Lita to score his customary goal against us