Tag Archives: Preview

Doncaster Rovers vs Middlesbrough – Preview

Football really has gone mad when Middlesbrough are spending £12.75m on a 25 year old, uncapped, Dutchman. Marten de Roon could feature for the Smoggies against Rovers on Saturday, alongside legendary keeper Victor Valdes and… George Friend.

Boro have an impressive roster to call from with Jordan Rhodes, David Nugent, Stewart Downing, Albert Adomah et al, all hoping to turn out at the Keepmoat Stadium. The visitors have already had one successful trip to Yorkshire in preseason, a 6-0 hammering of York City in which the only negative was an injury to former Rovers left back James Husband.

The game has special meaning for Rovers club captain James Coppinger who comes from a family of Boro fans. Copps told DROS this week: ‘I’m a Middlesbrough lad and have family that support them, sadly my granddad passed away recently, he would have loved to have watched me as he was a season ticket holder for 50 years.’

Rovers will be looking forward to Saturday’s game having put in a professional performance in the 4-0 victory at Rossington Main. In terms of team news, new signing Mathieu Baudry will be out until at least the start of the season, joining fellow new signing Joe Wright on the sidelines. Gary McSheffrey is also likely to miss out, and Paul Keegan has picked up his obligatory niggle. Luke McCullough returns from his extended rest period, after travelling to the Euro’s with Northern Ireland, where he played precisely 0 minutes.

Rovers have got the pricing right for preseason this year with £10 tickets for adults and kids going free. Boro will be buoyed by finally winning promotion back to the Premier League so a good crowd will be expected in what should be a fascinating fixture.

 

Rossington Main vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

So it begins. The big one. Rossington Main away.

There is always an air of reluctance around preseason. A friendly against Rossington Main in July, is like being awoken early from a satisfying dream, only to be handed a shovel and directed towards a particularly odious pile of shit. Nobody is really ready yet.

Having said that, there is at least, an unfamiliar feeling of optimism around the Keepmoat Stadium at the moment. CEO Gavin Baldwin has confirmed that promotion is the only acceptable outcome for the coming season and eight new signings back up those strong intentions. Tommy Rowe is perhaps the marquee signing but an entire new back five (bizarrely sans a new right back) is also a welcome addition. John Marquis’ partnership with Andy Williams up front could be interesting and both Matty Blair and Gary McSheffrey come with a good pedigree (the latter having impressed in last season’s loan spell).

Like Rovers, Rossington Main are also coming off the back of a poor season. Just six wins in 2015/16 saw Rosso finish 20th in NCEL Divison One, their lowest ever league finish since joining the NCEL in 1991. My research has come up with a blank as to whether this means Rossington were relegated or not but 105 goals conceded ensures 2016 will live in ignominy for the Doncaster based side.

Rossington Main played Doncaster Rovers in a friendly back in 2013, a match that saw the highest ever attendance at Oxford Street (1243). Rovers won 3-0 on that occasion with Chris Brown, Paul Quinn and David Syers on the score sheet. Such is the upheaval at the Keepmoat Stadium since then that only Luke McCullough and Harry Middleton remain from the squad that made the short trip to Oxford Street.

It remains to be seen how many new signings will feature but this friendly gives Rossington the chance to earn a much needed financial boost and at only £6 a ticket, there is surely nowhere else you would rather be on a Tuesday night in July. Domestic football is back, we might as well embrace it…

 

Doncaster Rovers vs Burton Albion – Preview

‘There are no meaningless games’ is an oft repeated mantra in the changing rooms of football teams all over the country. For Doncaster Rovers however, the result of the last game of the season truly means absolutely nothing.

Following the embarrassing capitulation at Gresty Road, Rovers find themselves all but relegated with a game to spare. An absurd turn of events considering our league position at the turn of the year.

The outrage and bile directed at the players following the final whistle on Saturday was as deserved as it was telling. We have had enough. We have had enough of inept managers and ‘competitive budgets’. We have had enough of rubbish football and dreadful home form. We have had enough of calamitous defending and goal shy strikers. We have had enough of lost boys wearing our clubs badge on their shirt whilst leaders and men are allowed to leave to join our relegation rivals. Enough is enough.

The result doesn’t matter on Sunday. Any pride that could have been salvaged from this season is long gone. What does matter is the fans and picking up the pieces of a broken club. Despite everyone except Marko Marosi being out of contract, you would expect wholesale changes in the summer so for a lot of players this is the last chance for them to make any kind of mark at the Keepmoat stadium no matter how insignificant.

Things couldn’t be more different for our opponents who will be hoping to celebrate an unlikely promotion. Burton only need a draw to secure promotion to the Championship for the first time in their history and their party atmosphere will be in stark contrast to the dour, fatalist, silent depression favoured by the Rovers faithful.

Mark Duffy scored a dramatic equalizer in a 3-3 draw when the two sides met at the Pirelli Stadium earlier in the season and he will be hoping to replicate his man of the match performance on his return to the Keepmoat on Sunday. Darren Ferguson’s starting XI is unclear but sure to start are two awful full backs, at least one disinterested midfielder and various other shrugs in human form who could well be on the road to non-league football if they don’t learn how to apply themselves.

Match Prediction DRFC 1-3 Burton Albion (Williams)

I have predicted Williams to score in pretty much every one of the last 18 games and he has rewarded me with 1 goal during that period. Cheers Andy. So for the last time this season; Andy Williams to score, let’s say from 30 yards. Go crazy. In reality, expect an easy Burton victory. They are just miles better than us.

Doncaster Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra – Preview

Shrewsbury’s shock victory at Gillingham has left Rovers with a mountain to climb but an upturn in performances and results is at least a welcome change of fortunes.

Donny produced one of the Keepmoat Stadiums finest ever moments against Crewe earlier in the season with Cameron Stewart and Andy Williams both scoring in injury time to secure an unlikely 3-2 win. Alex have won only once since that game, a 2-0 home victory against Rochdale back in February, and it is not hyperbolic to suggest that anything other than a victory would be a massive disappointment regardless of the criteria for avoiding relegation.

There are three teams that could save Darren Ferguson’s side in Fleetwood, Chesterfield and Shrewsbury but just one win from each of them would effectively send Rovers down, barring the reds making up a 10 goal swing against Fleetwood.

Surprisingly, Crewe manager Steve Davis is the sixth longest serving manager in all four English leagues and The Railwaymen appear to be keeping faith with him for next seasons promotion push. Crewe will have a massive say in who will join them in the fourth tier as they travel to Fleetwood on the final day.

In team news, Gary McSheffrey has had a positive influence at the Keepmoat but will miss the final two games with a knee injury. Nathan Tyson will be looking to replace the Scunthorpe loanee after his assist in last weekend’s comprehensive victory over Coventry City. Other than that Darren Ferguson will be hoping to name an unchanged side for what it is a vital game.

As a fan base all we can ask is for Rovers to win their final two games, if they do that we stand a decent chance of staying up. There is no way Donny are one of the worst four teams in the league on paper but they deserve to be where they are in the league table after a rotten run. It is up to the players and the manager to show that they deserve their place in league 1.

Match Prediction Crewe 0-2 DRFC (Williams, Calder)

Calder has got better with each passing game and is due a goal in what should be another comprehensive victory. Provided Rovers can grab an early goal they should have too much for a poor Crewe side.

 

Doncaster Rovers vs Chesterfield – Preview

Well that made things interesting… Rovers stunning 3-1 victory over Wigan was as unexpected as it was timely and the trip to the Proact Stadium now takes on a different meaning. What should have been a chance to instil some pride in an ultimately meaningless game is now a vital game in the race for survival.

The odds are still stacked against Rovers but a stunning second half performance has at least given Donny a chance at an unlikely Hail Mary. Darren Ferguson will probably stick with a winning side, with the only likely change being Evina in for Taylor-Sinclair at left back.

Rovers are unbeaten in 8 games against the Spireites, in a run going back to 2005 and indeed won the reverse fixture 3-0 back in November, with goals coming from Tyson, Williams and Stewart. A similar result could potentially see Rovers just 3 points from safety and with Fleetwood and Oldham facing tough away trips to Millwall and Southend respectively, a positive result becomes even more important.

Chesterfield have relegation worries of their own, sitting just 4 points above the drop zone. Danny Wilson’s men have had a season to forget and find themselves suffering from inconsistent form, including 2 wins, 2 defeats and a draw in their last 5 games. Rovers should be buoyed not just following the victory over Wigan, but also Chesterfields drubbing at the hands of Sheffield United with Billy Sharp notching the final goal for the Blades on Saturday.

Dean Saunders’ former side include former Rover and handsome chap Sam Hird, as well as experienced strikers Lee Novak and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake in their ranks, and with Andy Williams finally back on the score sheet it could be a high scoring game at the Proact Stadium on Tuesday night.

Match Prediction Chesterfield 2-3 DRFC (Williams 2, Rowe)

Why not? If Brentford taught us on anything it is that anything in football is possible. We have come to expect a show stopping end to the season as Rovers fans and if we play like we did in the second half against Wigan, we have every chance of securing another dramatic victory.

Doncaster Rovers vs Wigan Athletic – Report

Don’t you just love football…

  • After 16 games without a win, it feels like the starting line up barely matters. Even the continued inclusion of Taylor-Sinclair could only raise a meek sigh. That being said there were no real surprises in the starting XI as Fergie continued with a 442 formation with McCullough playing as a holding midfielder.
  • McCullough’s total lack of positional awareness hasn’t been as fatal in midfield as it was at centre back but against a strong Wigan midfield he was continuously lost as the Latics midfield surged forward. He must be a stop gap and not a permanent feature in that position.
  • In the first half and at times in the second, Rovers were worryingly easy to break down with two simple passes often finding Wigan in behind the Donny backline. Butler and Alcock stayed strong however and deserve all the plaudits.
  • It was a familiar story at half time. No cohesion, second to every ball, a baffling goal. Rovers were sinking without a trace. It was the withdrawal of Taylor-Sinclair (something that should have happened weeks ago) that led to Rovers revival. Hopefully that is the last we will see of him this season.
  • The familiar narrative would be ‘God knows what the manager said to them at half time’ but in truth Rovers started the second half just as badly as they had the first. It wasn’t until Butler’s equalizer that the tide started to turn.
  • His was a header bundled home through sheer power of will as Butler pushed his way through at the back post to beat Jääskeläinen. Butler charged through the Wigan back line like a brick wall couldn’t stop him, and whilst this commitment was genuinely joyous to see, it does pose the question why it hasn’t happened sooner.
  • Just four minutes later and Rovers were ahead. Same story as another McSheffrey set piece was forced home by Butler at the opposite post this time. Did it cross the line? Who cares. Rovers are in the position they are in due to mismanagement and poor player performance but nobody can deny that we have also had more than our fair share of bad luck this season. It was nice to see something go our way for a change.
  • The thirty or so minutes that passed between Rovers 2nd and 3rd goal felt like an age but for all Wigan’s pressure they could only muster 2 shots on target all afternoon. There was a time however when a Wigan equalizer felt inevitable as Rovers defenders snatched at clearances time and time again.
  • Finally though, Andy Butler’s 3278th headed clearance of the game fell to Gary McSheffrey who stormed into the penalty box only to be felled by David Perkins. It actually looked outside of the box to me but I’m definitely not complaining…
  • The tension and nervousness around the Keepmoat Stadium was palpable as Andy Williams stepped up to take the penalty. Williams seemed to put 16 games of anger, frustration and heartache into his emphatic penalty kick which slammed past Jääskeläinen and sent the Rovers faithful into rapture. A moment to cherish in an otherwise miserable season.

 

Winners

 Rovers fans – I have been falling out of love with Rovers for a long time. Whilst I can’t foresee a time when I will actually stop going, attending games no longer holds the same excitement that it once did. For the final thirty minutes against Wigan however I felt something that has been missing for some years, finally return. I really really fucking cared. Like when you are a kid and the Rovers result on Saturday is literally the most important thing in your life. It was nice to feel that way again and if Rovers can play like that on Tuesday night at Chesterfield, then we have a real chance of survival.

Andy Butler – In a mediocre season Andy Butler has at least been consistently our best defender. Rovers needed a leader today and Butler stepped up with two towering headers and some crunching tackles.

Andy Williams – Williams’ ran and ran all game and finally got the goal he deserved. He is clearly a confidence player and his goals could be crucial if Rovers are to have any chance of staying in league 1. Let’s all get behind him now. Make yourself a hero Andy.

Losers

Wigan Athletic – Everything about Wigan screamed complacency and when Rovers went ahead the Latics struggled to cope. The Wigan players were petulant and arrogant when things started to go wrong for them and it was no surprise when Perkins was sent off. They will probably still get promoted but they will have to remember they have no divine right to be in the championship.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair – ATS has long since ceased to be a footballer and has now become some sort of surreal performance artist, testing himself to the very limit of physics and reality, all in the name of discovering how long one man can be the worst player on the park and still be picked. Hopefully his latest bout of passing the ball out of play, failing to stop crosses and randomly falling over, will be his last. Evina has to start on Tuesday night.

Reece Wabara – For once, it was absolutely lovely to see Reece Wabara on the losing side at the Keepmoat. Poetic justice for a player who is as to blame as anyone for our three year slump.

 

Man of the Match – Andy Butler

We don’t normally do these but by God does he deserve it. Imagine the scenes if he had taken the penalty…

Doncaster Rovers vs Wigan Athletic – Preview

One of my fondest and earliest memories is being at Belle Vue to witness a thrilling 5-3 victory over Wigan Athletic in the old Division 3. Only a few months earlier I had attended my first ever game at Belle Vue but it was the Wigan game that cemented a love and affection that would last over 20 years.

As Rovers stand on the precipice of returning to League 1, I must admit that I no longer feel the same commitment I once felt. Home games often feel like a chore these days, rather than something to base your week around. I am debating whether to renew my season ticket for next season and I certainly wouldn’t buy one at current prices if we do go down.

As things stand Rovers are 8 points behind Fleetwood and Shrewsbury and both have a superior goal difference. The reds probably have to win 4 of the last 5 to stand a chance of retaining the league 1 status that we fought so hard to get. Since the jubilation of Brentford it has been a tough time for the Rovers faithful with one relegation confirmed and another looming large, as well one of the worst home records in the country.

With safety seemingly out of reach, it will be tempting for the players to hide and eventually slump to another defeat. All we ask as a fan base is a little fight. The reason why the supremely talented Sean Thornton was never as popular as the limited Ricky Ravenhill is that one of them would run 80 yards to deliver a bone crunching tackle at the corner flag whereas the other would stand in the centre circle with his hands in the air.

Rovers are currently on their most miserable run since the worst season in the clubs history and instead of dissecting who is to blame it is time for everyone at club to fight and scrap for at least some pride. If we are going down, let’s go down fucking fighting.

Unfortunately it is probably too little too late as Rovers opponents on Saturday are top of the league and unbeaten in 2016. Wigan are 4 points clear at the top of league 1 and boast a number of players that have played in the premier league as well as 23 goal striker Will Grigg. And Reece Wabara…

Match Prediction DRFC 0-3 Wigan

For all the fans rallying for the players to stand up and be counted, they have shown themselves to be incapable or unwilling. We are due a drubbing.

Doncaster Rovers vs Bury – Match Preview

After the recent furore in regards to the controversial decision for a ‘fan’ to design the away kit, it is quite refreshing to get back to some actual football. Not too refreshing obviously as Rovers haven’t won in 16 games but they have shown signs of a slight upturn in terms of performances if not in results.

After Fleetwood and a Curtis Main inspired Oldham both won on Tuesday night, Rovers probably need at the very least 3 wins from their remaining 6 games to stand a chance of staying up and avoiding defeat at Gigg Lane is vital.

Bury have won 1 in the last 9 and have not won for their last 6 games so Rovers will fancy their chances after a dramatically improved performance against Rochdale last time out.

The Shakers have nothing to play for being safe from relegation and in no danger of troubling the play offs but this has been proven to be a misnomer time and time again and Rovers will have to scrap for their league 1 survival.

Hoping to start will be former Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso and frequent scorer against RoversTom Pope but former Rovers loanee Reece Brown will probably have to settle for a place on the bench.

Rovers will hope to better the controversial draw between the two sides on the opening day of the season when Donny allowed their Lancashire cousins to walk the ball into an empty net following Harry Forrester’s accidental lob. If you had shown a Rovers fan the current league table on that day they would scarcely believe their eyes…

Match Prediction: Bury 1-2 DRFC (McSheffrey 2)

Time is already running out for Rovers and if they are to stand any chance of avoiding relegation they simply have to start winning games. With home form being a constant issue for the South Yorkshire side, the away game at Bury takes special focus in Doncaster’s quest for survival.

Doncaster Rovers vs Rochdale – Preview

Rovers travel to Spotland on their worst run since the fateful 97-98 season in which Donny dropped out of the football league. Whilst we are not in a position comparable to those dark days, Rovers current slump is as surprising as it was avoidable.

The many depressing stats related to this rotten run have been covered to death elsewhere (including on this site – by me), but Rovers have to find a way to bounce back somehow. The addition of Tommy Rowe, Gary McSheffrey and Remi Matthews has brought only further defeats as fans are becoming more and more bewildered by the inclusion of Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

ATS has become a bit of a scapegoat in recent games, not to say he hasn’t been awful, but with the exception of Copps and perhaps Andy Butler, nobody is performing as they should be. Darren Ferguson seems out of ideas and whilst he has to take a lot of the blame for our current failings, the players need to take a long hard look at themselves and decide what division they want to play in next season because on current form none of them would be signed by bigger clubs in the event of our relegation.

Rochdale however are in a much brighter position having lost just 2 of their last 10 games, winning 4 of 6 in March. The return of local boy Grant Holt seems to have galvanized Dale and the thought of Holt coming up against our defence is a genuinely bleak one. Hoping to start for Rochdale will be former Rovers midfielder Dave Syers, although he has had to settle for a place on the bench in recent times.

Rovers fans are more miserable than the ticket office staff on match day at the moment with most supporters barely able to even register a boo  at the final whistle. If Donny don’t win soon you get the feeling the Rovers fans might snap out of their collective malaise and walk out of the Keepmoat and straight into oncoming traffic. Happy Easter.

Match Prediction Rochdale 2-1 DRFC (McSheffrey)

Rovers improved immeasurably against Blackpool and were unlucky not to get something. Unfortunately Rochdale will present a match harder challenge and it is difficult to see Rovers getting anything at Spotland.

Games appear to be running out for Darren Ferguson’s men and with relegation now out of our own hands it is up to the players to show that they actually want to play for Ferguson and Doncaster Rovers.

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United – Preview

In a week in which former Rovers manager Sean O’ Driscoll was sacked from Walsall despite his side being 4th in the table, it seems odd that Darren Ferguson has presided over 10 winless games and remains largely free from pressure. Two tough looking away games are next to come for the South Yorkshire side however with the short trip to Glanford Park up next.

Scunny have not won in 4 themselves having drawn their last two games 0-0. Rovers have also struggled for goals in recent times having scoring a quite frankly pathetic 3 goals in 8 games. Whilst a move to 442 and the return of Andy Butler brought about a more solid performance last time out, once again individual errors cost Rovers with Thorsten Stuckmann the player to have a brain fade this time. Things are becoming desperate for the reds and surely defeat against Scunthorpe and Bradford would see Rovers reacquainted with the relegation zone for the first time since October of 2015.

Rovers are so sorely lacking across the pitch that it is difficult to pinpoint what Darren Ferguson could actually do to save Donny at this point. Stuckmann is solid but has poor distribution. The defence has been appalling all season, the midfield is lacking in both leadership and guile and the attack has been non-existent for weeks. This is a team that has become rotten to the core to the point where there isn’t one player in the squad that I would be truly sorry to see leave the club.

The lack of creativity in midfield shines a light on the departure of Harry Forrester, particularly in the wake of his third goal in as many games for Rangers. Such decisions point to mismanagement at every level of the club and without wanting to come across as too negative the immediate future of the club looks incredibly bleak.

Having said all that a victory at Glanford Park would buy Darren Ferguson both good will and time and he will desperately be hoping for some luck as well as a bit more fight and effort from the players.

Match Prediction Scunthorpe 2-0 DRFC
As I said back in February it always hurts predicting a loss against Scunny but things have only become more desperate since that game was called off. Where is our next win coming from? Grim days indeed.