Tag Archives: Preview

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.

Doncaster Rovers Vs Colchester United: Match Preview

A dramatic late win ensured Rovers kept up the pace with the leaders last Saturday, but how will Rovers cope without their top scorer as Colchester come to town?

Andy Williams was the hero against Barnet, turning in Matty Blair’s superb cross to give Fergie’s boys a 3-2 win having squandered a two-goal lead minutes before. For Williams though, that effort looks set to be his last in the short term as he left the ground on crutches and is not expected to be fit to play this weekend.

Colchester United are the latest visitors to Lakeside, a team who came down to League Two with Rovers last season. You could say that they dragged us down with them, a 4-1 thumping in Essex on Good Friday still fresh in the memory for fans and, hopefully, the players as well.

However, both teams are very different propositions to the ones that lined up on that day, and it is Rovers who have made the better start to life back in the basement. The Barnet win was a seventh of the campaign and fourth in six outings, whilst the club are now clear by four goals as top scoring team in the division.

By contrast, Colchester are the epitome of average to date, sitting 13th in the standings with four wins, four losses and four draws. Their goal difference also demonstrates the flat rate by which John McGreal’s team are chugging along – 16 for, 16 against – and are without a win in five league matches, whilst their last away maximum came at the end of August.

Darren Ferguson will be able to call upon John Marquis up front, back from suspension, but owing to Williams’ injury will probably keep young forward Liam Mandeville in the line-up alongside him after a strong showing deputising against Barnet. Mathieu Baudry also performed well when brought on as part of a tactical switch in the second half last week, but if the manager sticks to the diamond from kick-off here, expect to see Baudry back on the bench.

One to Watch

Despite being relegated, Colchester possessed a wealth of strong attacking talents last season as proven by their 4-1 win last time the teams met. The likes of Moncur, Sordell, Harriott and Gilbey have all understandably moved on now, but Sammie Szmodics remains having signed a three-year contract in the summer. Szmodics is the main outlet through midfield for the U’s and has three goals this season, the last coming in their most recent victory over Blackpool.

Big Weekend

John Marquis is restored to the starting line-up for Rovers this weekend but will be asked to perform with more pressure on his shoulders in the absence of Williams. Usually the support striker for our top scorer, Marquis will have to step up and lead the line himself here with Mandeville providing the support instead.

Doncaster Rovers vs Carlisle United: Match Preview

It’s a swift chance to bounce back as Rovers face their second tough test in a matter of days…

Despite sitting pretty at the top of League Two after half an hour on Saturday, a 1-0 lead that should have been higher was turned around by hosts Luton Town as the Hatters went on to a 3-1 victory to end the Reds’ latest winning run. James Coppinger netted for the third game in a row but the defence was undone too many times and our strikers failed to find their scoring boots.

This was seen as a tough fixture and rightly so as the win took Luton just ahead of us in the table and saw them join us as the division’s highest scoring team to date. Up next is a chance to put things right however as unbeaten Carlisle United come south to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Discounting an epic penalty shoot-out defeat to Derby in the EFL Cup, Carlisle have not tasted defeat since the end of April and will be a formidable opponent. They are one of only two teams to knock off leaders Plymouth so far this term and sit just one point and two places behind us in the standings.

Keith Curle’s side look a dark horse for promotion contention and boast a wealth of talent for this level, conceding just nine goals so far thanks to Mark Gillespie in goal and a defence boasting three ever-presents including veteran Danny Grainger. Our record against the Cumbrians is hit-and-miss but our last meeting at this level was a memorable one, Rovers lifting the Division 3 title at Belle Vue in the closer of the 2003/04 season.

The big question going into the game is which formation Fergie will deploy, reverting to his favoured 3-5-2 in a failed attempt to bring the game back in our favour. If Mathieu Baudry is fit enough to make his full debut, put your money on three at the back. Questions must also be asked of Cedric Evina’s place in the side with Tyler Garratt now fit again after a shoddy display from the Cameroonian at Kenilworth Road.

One to Watch

Charlie Wyke is Carlisle’s main goal threat, picking up where he left off last season netting four goals in eleven games for our visitors. He is ably assisted by the likes of Shaun Miller, who scored the winner against Wycombe on Saturday, Jabo Ibehre and Reggie Lambe, but it is Wyke who so often steals the headlines.

Big Night

Tuesday evening could see a full debut for highly rated centre half Mathieu Baudry, who appeared off the bench against Luton as Fergie tested the 3-5-2, a formation Baudry was signed to play in. If he starts it’ll mean a change in shape for the Reds, but will the Frenchman be sharp enough at present to make the impact we need him to?

Morecambe vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

Saturday marks the 500th appearance of James Coppinger for the club, an enormous milestone that will rightly be celebrated by all at the club. Coppinger is now in his thirteenth season with the club in which he has played a crucial role in a League One title-winning team – netting the winning goal that handed us that accolade – as well as promotion at Wembley and a Football League Trophy triumph, and it is hard to argue with his place among the greats at Doncaster Rovers.
His status is assured but his form this season continues to add to the legend. Two goals and three assists in the opening six games have earned the skilful midfielder a nomination for Player of the Month, and he will be a key man when Rovers head to high-flying Morecambe this weekend aiming to return to the top three after a loss to Crewe ended a four-game winning run.
The Shrimps were top of the league after a run of four straight wins until losing at home to Leyton Orient last time out, so Jim Bentley’s side will be a tougher opponent than their pre-season tag as relegation favourites suggests. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2003, when Rovers finished behind Morecambe on goal difference in the Nationwide Conference but went on to win promotion in the inaugural Play Offs and the differing trajectories of both clubs has kept them apart ever since.
Rovers’ injury curse shows little sign of relenting as we look to bounce back from a first defeat in five games, new signing Frazer Richardson unlikely to be fit to feature after taking a knock in the 2-1 defeat at Crewe meaning Darren Ferguson may have to rely on a makeshift defence once more. Riccardo Calder is pushing for a start after another encouraging performance off the bench, whilst messrs Williams and Marquis will surely continue up front looking to get back amongst the goals.
One to Watch
Barry Roche is up alongside Coppinger for the Player of the Month award after a series of inspired performances helped the club he has served for eight years head to the top of the table. Clean sheets in games against Yeovil and Portsmouth show the importance he has, and even in defeat against Leyton Orient last Saturday Roche was acclaimed for a Man of the Match display that kept Morecambe in the game.
Big Weekend
All eyes will be on the visiting #26 as James Coppinger breaks the 500 appearance barrier, extending his club record. He is a man in top form, turning in vintage displays and with his propensity for shining when the big occasions come calling, expect nothing less than another masterclass from the Rovers captain.
Adam Stubbings

Doncaster Rovers vs Yeovil Town – Preview

Doncaster Rovers vs Yeovil Town. A fixture that screams League 2…

Yeovil Town are the visitors to the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday, facing a Rovers side looking to win three matches in a row for the first time since February 2015.

The Glovers haven’t won in the league since the opening day, presumably as they are unable to recover from me tipping them for relegation here.

All the usual suspects remain on the treatment table and the absence of Niall Mason, Tyler Garratt, Craig Alcock, Luke McCullough, Mathieu Baudry, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Paul Keegan and Gary McSheffrey ensures that Darren Ferguson could look to name an unchanged team.

Darren Way’s side are coming off the back of three consecutive defeats without scoring a goal so will be looking to bounce back against Rovers. Fergie’s men have been revitalized by a shake up to the formation and it looks like thing could finally be looking up for the South Yorkshire side.

One to watch

Otis Kahn has impressed for The Glovers since signing from Barnsley and the former Manchester United trainee will be full of confidence after scoring on his debut on the opening day. He faces a strong defensive unit however who will be looking for their third consecutive shut out.

Big Weekend

Andy Williams – The former Swindon striker is barely justifying his place in the starting  XI at the moment and he desperately needs a goal to boost his confidence (not least because I backed him to be the divisions top scorer at 9/1).

Marko Marosi – Two consecutive clean sheets means that Marosi will surely start again against Yeovil and a third would cement his place as Rovers #1. He has never been closer to claiming the jersey as his own.

Match Prediction – DRFC 2-0 Yeovil (Williams, Marquis)

I’m going to stick with my prediction that Yeovil will struggle this season so Rovers should really be looking to claim all three points. John Marquis is on fire at the moment and surely Andy Williams must be due a goal. He is still creating chances he just needs to stick one away.

Rob Johnson

Cheltenham Town vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

Doncaster Rovers are finally up and running, but is it possible for us to win two games in a week?

We needed improvement from the draw with Crawley and on Tuesday night, we got improvement. Rovers dominated proceedings against Cambridge United on a strange summer evening at the Keepmoat, eventually emerging as 1-0 winners to register our first maximum of the season.

The side imposed themselves on the opposition and created plenty of good chances, and although it was by no means the perfect performance, it was a much better showing than we saw in the previous two league games, so there is plenty of encouragement to take forward into this weekend’s fixture.

That outing will be to Cheltenham, newly promoted back into the EFL after one season playing in the National League. Gary Johnson has turned the perennial strugglers into a formidable outfit and they have made an unbeaten start to the season, underlining their intent by knocking Charlton out of the EFL Cup last week.

In fact, the Robins have not tasted defeat since Easter Monday but Rovers go into the game having sparked a bit of momentum and should have no fears on the pitch when they step out at Whaddon Road this Saturday afternoon. Cheltenham have drawn 1-1 in every league game so far, and were only able to name five substitutes for their match at Carlisle in midweek.

Talismanic striker Dan Holman may not make the game after injuring a toe last Saturday, whilst club captain Aaron Downes remains on the long term injury list. Rovers remain without a host of first team players, including Mathieu Baudry and Paul Keegan, but Tyler Garratt should be fit to feature after going off with a knock against Cambridge.

The last time we played in this fixture in the league was a memorable one for all the wrong reasons. An inspired goalkeeping performance from Shane Higgs ensured a 2-1 win for the home side and as a result, Rovers missed the chance to go up automatically from League One in 2007/08. Of course, alls well that ends well as James Hayter and his beautiful head can attest to, and there is no reason to believe that we can’t turn Tuesday’s victory into a run of good form.

Adam Stubbings

Doncaster Rovers vs Crawley Town – Preview

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.

Lizzie Robinson

Doncaster Rovers vs Nottingham Forest – Preview

It always feels a little anticlimactic for the first home game to be a cup game but Nottingham Forest is a local derby of sorts so there should at least be a decent attendance and atmosphere.

Rovers have met Forest in the league cup before of course, most famously resulting in an 8-0 defeat at Belle Vue. Rovers will be hoping for a more respectable result this time round but will need to pick themselves up after a disappointing opening day defeat at Accrington Stanley.

Forest fared better in their opening game, overcoming newly promoted Burton Albion 4-3 at the City Ground. Hoping to start against Rovers will be former Everton striker Apostolos Vellios who arrived at Forest for a fee over £1 million. Elsewhere, former Rovers centre back Matt Mills could feature, whilst ex premier league stars Henri Lansbury (Arsenal) and Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa) will also be in contention.

This game may come too early for Paul Keegan, but Harry Middleton could continue his surprise return to fitness with a starting berth. Rovers have signed 12 new players this summer so Darren Ferguson has the squad depth to rotate. The worry is that Fergie seems to want to persevere with the 5-3-2 formation that saw us relegated last season so it will be interesting to see how we turn out against Forest with the pressure slightly off.

It doesn’t seem long ago that Rovers were beating Forest with both teams in the Championship so it is a shame that such a huge gulf has opened between the two sides. A victory on Tuesday night would not close that gap but it would at least restore some much needed pride and give a glimmer of hope to a long suffering fan base.

Match Prediction: DRFC 1-3 Nottingham Forest (Williams)

Andy Williams has been well backed to score a bagful of goals this season but Forest should have too much for Rovers unless they play a bunch of kids.

York City vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

My only previous trip to Bootham Crescent came during our glorious league winning season of 03-04. Unfortunately the day will forever live in ignominy as the away end toilets were broken, which resulted in a steady stream of brown coloured water collecting at the bottom of the terraces. On their return to York, Rovers will be without their own shit puddle, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, due to injury. 

Joining ATS on the treatment table are (deep breath): Mathieu Baudry, Joe Wright, Harry Middleton, Craig Alcock, Gary McSheffrey and, of course, Paul Keegan. The injury situation at the Keepmoat has become so grim that a proposed friendly game against Kidderminster had to be postponed, much to the relief of anyone that had taken leave of their senses and had been toying with the idea of attending a pre season match between Doncaster Rovers and Kidderminster Harriers.

York City were sadly relegated out of the football league last season, finishing bottom of the league in the process. The Minstermen have since acted swiftly to force an upturn in fortunes this summer, bringing in no less than 15 new faces, with 14 players leaving the club, including former Rovers loanee Michael Ingham.

Our Yorkshire cousins received a 6-0 shellacking from Middlesbrough in their first pre season game but have since recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Stalybridge Celtic before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at Bolton. Rovers will be looking to build on their impressive performance in the 2-2 draw against Newcastle United but preventing further injuries will probably be Darren Ferguson’s main priority. The injury to Harry Middleton is particularly galling as this season is vital to the academy graduates progress. If there is one silver lining to Middleton’s injury, the fact that it pushes a move for Paul Green ever closer, is surely it.

Whilst friendly games should always be taken with a pinch of salt, York City were a League 2 club last season so this should be a good opportunity for Rovers to gage the potential performance levels of some of our divisional rivals.

Doncaster Rovers vs Newcastle United – Preview

Rovers welcome a second North East club to the Keepmoat in as many games as the magpies of Newcastle head south for this fixture. Both sides tasted the bitter disappointment of relegation last season, and there will be a plethora of new faces on both team sheets for this one.

Darren Ferguson got to see his new-look defence tested for the first time in a 2-0 defeat to Premier League new boys Middlesbrough on Saturday, Tyler Garratt starting at left back with youth team prospect Reece Fielding also featuring. Thus far, the manager has been trying out the diamond formation in midfield with Tommy Rowe at the point, whilst Riccardo Calder impressed on the left hand side as a half time substitute against Boro.

The midfield is still missing Paul Keegan due to a minor injury, but centre half Joe Wright could be available to make his first appearance in the hoops on Wednesday night, as could Luke McCullough fresh off his enlightening trip to Ibiza following the European Championships.

It should be another good crowd after nearly 3,000 turned up to catch a glimpse of former Barcelona superstar Victor Valdes, although they instead had to make do with George Friend and Mustapha Carayol, and the star names keep on coming as Rafa Benitez, one of the biggest managers in world football, brings his big guns to the Keepmoat.

Matt Ritchie scored a superb debut goal in a friendly with Bohemians of Ireland at the weekend, and fellow new signing Dwight Gayle was also on the score sheet. There were also goals for Dutch international Gini Wijnaldum and tricky winger Rolando Aarons, although Aarons went off injured soon after netting and is a doubt for this game.

Adam Stubbings