Tag Archives: Scunthorpe United

IN FERGIE WE TRUST?

Has Fergie learnt anything from last season?


Let’s not sugar coat this, Fergie can consider his tenure at Doncaster Rovers last season as an absolute failure. With just 6 games gone last season the Rovers board acted swiftly to axe Paul Dickov and give the team a realistic chance to turn the season around and challenge for promotion, instead we start the season a division lower.

Ferguson is lucky to still be in employment at Doncaster Rovers, and surely he realises that if he fails to get the results this season then it is over for the Scotsman. Personally, I will not accept anything less than 100 points, the League Two title and Aaron Taylor Sinclair to make 0 appearances for the club.

Although this sounds like a task that would be quite difficult for a team that went 17 games without a win last season which included games against all but one of the bottom 8 teams in League One, Ferguson has been making the right noises during the off-season period by securing the return of Tommy Rowe and Gary McSheffrey on permanent deals (more on this later), bringing in Ross Etheridge and Mathieu Baudry from Accrington Stanley and Leyton Orient respectively. Young talent also enters the squad in the form of Joe Wright and Tyler Garratt, highly respected and accomplished players Matty Blair and John Marquis have also joined the ranks along with non-league star Alfie Beestin.

These additions coupled with the retention of most of the squad from last season has been enough for pundits and the bookmakers alike to tip Fergie’s men to challenge the likes of Portsmouth for the League Two title. Sadly however, I don’t share the same sense of optimism and I do have to question whether Fergie has learnt anything from the implosion of last season?

Before I go any further, I probably should point out that I’m not writing this as someone who was against Fergie’s appointment or the sacking of Dickov (Hello, Mark Hughes), no in fact I wrote an article before Fergie was announced highlighting that he would have been my choice as well. I truly and honestly expected Fergie to be the man to lead Doncaster Rovers out of the mediocrity of League One – which truth be told he did, he just lead us in the wrong direction.

Obviously Fergie has been talking the talk in pre-season, signed some decent players for this level, kept arguably (and I use that word with caution) our best player at the club in Andy Williams and has said what fans wanted to hear in press conferences and fans meetings etc., but all this is starting to look and feel a little bit like the last two seasons. Players more than capable were brought in, the manager (then a Mr Dickov) was saying the right things in press conferences but on each occasion we couldn’t do anything more than accept mid-table mediocrity.


The lack of pre-season games has not given fans much time to see the action on the pitch, but even with the recent additions and our new injuries in pre-season the squad still looks very bare in the middle of the park. The noises coming out of the club seem to suggest that we will be using a combination of entering the loan market and using our development and young players as a solution. On the face of it, it doesn’t seem a bad idea but I probably only need to mention the names of Mitchell Lund and Lyndon Gooch as evidence that these solutions can have calamitous effects if you don’t build strength in depth. I fear that if this backfires on Fergie (again) it will be a blunder that would make Aaron Taylor Sinclair blush and point towards a season languishing in mid-table (or worse) of League Two.

The decision to bring back both Tommy Rowe and Gary McSheffrey on permanent deals is in my opinion a dubious decision. Whilst both players did shine towards the end of last season let us not forget that they were shining in a squad that couldn’t defeat a Colchester side that hadn’t won at home for 6 months and were 1-0 down to the Rovers going into the break, or even a Crewe side already relegated. Put simply, Habib Bamogo and Harry Worley would have been able to play in that squad and leave with ratings of 7 or above.

Tommy Rowe is certainly a player who knows both Leagues One and Two very well, but he failed to light up Glanford Park when loaned to Scunthorpe last season before being loaned to us, his career has been on a downward spiral since suffering an injury and breaking his leg in late 2014. We have to question realistically whether his 14 games for us last season were the last bit of shine in a darkening bulb, or whether it is the reignition of his career. As a club that finished the season relegated and not a single player out of contract, you do have to wonder why we have taken such a gamble and given Rowe a 3 year contract.

Onto McSheffrey, again someone else who we signed as a result of feeding off the scraps of local rivals Scunthorpe United. McSheffrey probably knows his best days when at Coventry are behind him and regardless of whether we win promotion or not, I do believe this season will be the start of a new era for McSheffrey as his career will take him into the lower depths of non-league football where he will probably continue playing until the age of 45. One thing McSheffrey does highlight however, is just how much we have fallen as a club, if you had told me 5 years ago that our salvation would lie in Gary McSheffrey I’d have probably told you where to stick it.


Finally, Ferguson has told the press recently that Coppinger will remain team captain because “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Now Harry Forrester (arguably our most technically gifted player last season) was shipped out for what I can only imagine was showing a lack of interest towards the manager. Curtis Main was dropped as a result of not making an impact after only a handful of sub appearances and made his way to Oldham and helped them to survive. Meanwhile, we watched our club suffer relegation despite being tipped to finish in the play-offs. We were relegated for the most part thanks to the run of 17 games without a win, now during this abysmal run we lacked character, fight and spirit, we needed a leader, a man to rise up from the ashes of defeat. When everyone looked at Coppinger to make the step from Club Legend to God amongst men his leadership proved as reliable as Aaron Taylor Sinclair. 

Maybe these are the ravings of a madman. But whether or not come May we’ll be celebrating promotion, the pre-season has thus far proved that not everything is going to be as straightforward as Fergie had hoped. This season will undoubtedly have highs and lows. If Fergie manages to deliver he may earn himself a place in Rovers folklore. Should he fail however, then he will only have himself to blame.

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United – Report

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

  • Rovers never even sat in the car, let alone got into first gear or anything higher, turning in one of the most abject, soulless performances in years. There was no fight, no endeavour and certainly no sign that we can come out of this relegation battle with our League One status intact.

  • Players who only two months ago looked capable of mounting a serious Play Off push now look like hapless no marks, unable to muster even a meaningful effort to win a football match. The bulk of this side took Stoke City to the limit, but confidence is through the floor and there appears no way to pull them back up.

  • Every different three-man combination in midfield, and there have been many, has failed to live up to the task. The formation is not getting the best out of these players and needs to be addressed immediately. In the 3-5-2, Keegan is unable to perform his ‘shielding’ role, whilst a young winger in Riccardo Calder is being asked to play in a steely trio. At Scunthorpe they failed to break up play, put pressure on the opposition or build attacks, spending 90 minutes looking hopeless.

  • Calder is one of a number of young, inexperienced players brought in on loan from Premier League clubs with only a handful of professional games under his belt. Whilst also blooding academy youngsters into this side, Fergie has gambled with our League One status by putting too much on young shoulders. Despite their best efforts here, the likes of Calder, Grant and Gooch all know that even if we go down, it’s back to the plush Premier League surroundings for them in the summer.

  • Serious questions must now be asked of the manager. Too many line-up changes from game-to-game, plus constant alterations to the formation, are not allowing us to have any stability or regularity to the way we play. Too often players are put in unfamiliar roles that they clearly aren’t up to, and when you add this to the above questions over recruitment, it is time to stop giving Ferguson a free pass for our problems. He is the man in charge, but can he show what he’s made of and get us out of this?

  • It was a field day for Scunthorpe, they had time and space in abundance to execute their game plan and take the win. You have to wonder where the next goal is going to come from. It’s just the one in six games now, and we never even looked like scoring here. It took until well into the second half for us to even win a corner, let alone put a solid effort on target. It isn’t acceptable, and not enough is being done to change it.

Winners

Scunthorpe – Surely the easiest three points the Iron will collect all season, along with bragging rights that could be lauded over us for a while if our slide to League Two isn’t halted. This result means our local rivals have now done the double over us for the first time since 1991, a truly embarrassing stat for the club.

Our Relegation Rivals – Blackpool and Oldham in particular must be delighted with our total capitulation. The Latics now have two games in hand on us and just three points to make up, it looks inevitable that we will grace the bottom four again soon.

Losers

Darren Ferguson – There can be no hiding for the manager now. This is the kind of situation where good managers earn their money and reputations, and bad ones crumble into oblivion. There are genuine questions over his selections, tactics and recruitment, as well as the fact that he seems unable to motivate an underperforming set of players with no confidence.

Paul Keegan – As bad a showing as you will see from the Irishman, who looked lost in the three man midfield and unable to even commit to the basics. Usually so assured in the centre of the park, Keegan just wasn’t his usual self and hid within himself, not what you would expect from the man wearing the captain’s armband.

The Rovers Supporters – We can forgive a bad run, or a narrow defeat. We can forgive things not going our way, but to pay to sit in the rain and watch the players turn in such a poor showing lacking effort and quality in a local derby, or any match, is not something we as fans should have to put up with. This defeat was the worst way to reward the loyal fans who packed the away end at Glanford Park.

It is hard to find the positives from yet another defeat, this arguably the worst of the entire run that is threatening to turn this season into one ending in relegation. Something must be done immediately to stop the final nail in the coffin to what has been a truly golden era for the club.

Adam Stubbings

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.

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United – Preview

We have covered the concept of a ‘meaningless’ derby game before. In the run up to last season’s home game against Scunthorpe we wrote:

‘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.’

That sentiment still rings true as we approach another derby game that means very little in the context of the league table. Rovers are absolutely out of the playoff race and one would hope we have too good a squad to go down (hopefully not famous last words).

The above quote came before our 5-2 demolition of Scunthorpe on the final day of last season when Nathan Tyson (baby) wrote himself into Rovers history with a famous hat trick. For the younger generation that could well be a ‘Mickey Norbury’ moment which once and for all consigns the word ‘meaningless’ to the rubbish bin when talking about local derby’s.

Saturday’s game has some extra spice after Scunny’s recent 1-0 victory on Boxing Day which somehow seemed to completely derail Rovers season with the reds yet to win at home since. Indeed Rovers have lost 3 of their last 5 games having not won since the 3-0 victory at Roots Hall on the 2nd of January. Managerless Scunthorpe on the other hand seemed to have recovered from their recent 5-0 humbling against Blackpool, having won both of their last two games.

Rovers will likely come up against hot shot Paddy Madden who will be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of facing a Rovers defence which has quite frankly looked pathetic in recent outings. Madden already has 13 league goals this season and Rovers will have to be much improved to stop a team above them in the table and in much better form.

With a healthy Rovers following expected (in terms of numbers, certainly not in terms of actual physical health), this is the perfect opportunity to erase some of the memory of ghastly recent home performances and there are number of players with a lot to prove, none less than Andy Williams who has struggled for goals without the graft of Nathan Tyson alongside him.

Match Prediction Scunthorpe United 2-1 DRFC (Gooch)
Whilst my heart grimaces at the prospect of predicting a defeat to the Scunts, my head says the Rovers defence will continue to struggle while ever the personnel remains the same. Rovers look set to limp towards the end of the season which is a shame as the reds appeared to be genuine play off hopefuls only a few short weeks ago.

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United report

Well after all the build up and excitement of recent games, what a massive let down that was…

  • Rovers started lively but were soon deflated by Madden’s 20th minute goal. While there was more than a touch of offside about his close range finish, the ball should never have been allowed to get as far as the back post in the first place. Alcock had diverted a similar cross behind for a corner only moments earlier and this should have been a warning sign.
  • Following the goal Rovers really were woeful with nobody having the confidence to bring the ball down and try and play it. Rovers attacking trimutive of Williams, Tyson and Grant were completely marked out of the game.
  • Rovers were ponderous in possession allowing a sea of yellow to engulf any player who did find himself in a decent position. In comparison the Iron often found themselves in acres of space and if anyone looked like scoring before half time, it was the visitors.
  • Harry Middleton has been excellent during Rovers resurgence but this perhaps was a game too far for the young midfielder. Too often he was overran in the middle of the park and it probably came as a relief to him when he was sacrificed at half time for Paul Keegan.
  • Rovers started the second half brightly with Keegan offering a calming presence in midfield and Copps finally leading by example (the least you would expect of your captain in a local derby) with some excellent passes as well as a couple of good tackles.
  • Nobody comes close to Paul Keegan in the tackling stakes though and one particular cruncher just inside Scunthorpe’s half was almost the catalyst for a Rovers come back as the Black Bank roared its approval.
  • Further substitutions  followed and while Stewart and N’guessan were an improvement on Lund and Tyson it always felt like an equalizer would be just beyond Rovers grasp. Cameron Stewart came closest with his long range, curling effort thumping off the bar and out for a goal kick. Not our day.
  • Andy Butler is an excellent defender but in a formation that calls for quick, counter attacking football, his lack of any kind of actual footballing ability is becoming a problem. Too many times Butler headed blindly forward when he had the time to bring the ball down and play it.
  • Whilst it jars against Rovers perceived dominance in the second half, Scunthorpe actually had more possession and more shots on target than Rovers over 90 minutes. A more telling statistic is Scunthorpe’s 3 bookings and 13 fouls compared to 0 bookings and 7 fouls for Rovers. It may not have been pretty but local derby’s rarely are. Which side truly wanted it more?

Winners

James Coppinger – Probably Copps best 45 minutes of football since the glorious second half against Leeds as he took the game by the scruff of the neck and almost grabbed Rovers an equalizer with his excellent turn and volley that was well saved by Luke Daniels.

Paul Keegan – Calm, assured, accurate passing. It remains to be seen whether Paul Keegan has the legs to fit in to Darren Ferguson’s 5-3-2 formation but on this evidence, Middleton should receive a well deserved rest against Oldham on Monday.

The Black Bank – Despite Rovers turgid first half performance the Black Bank never stopped singing. Obviously buoyed by recent events against Crewe and Burton, the Rovers fans remained vocal right until the end.

Scunthorpe’s defence – Probably the best defensive performance I have seen all season. Scunthorpe pressed high, gave Rovers no time on the ball and formed a yellow brick wall at the penalty spot even as Rovers surged forward more and more. Pains me to say it but a deserved win the Iron.

Losers

Conor Grant – Something had to give with the Everton loanee’s mightily impressive recent performances and sure enough he was totally anonymous against Scunthorpe on boxing day. With his talent you would think this is a blip rather than a downturn in form however.

Mitchell Lund – Despite playing some of his best football, Lund has been subbed in each of Rovers last three games. You feel that as soon as Ferguson finds a replacement, the youngster will have to settle for a place on the bench.

Nathan Tyson – Cut a frustrated figure throughout and other than one first half surge offered little against a resolute Scunthorpe defence. Could have been sent off for a petulant kick out just before being hauled off by Ferguson. A world apart from his hat trick in this same fixture last season.

The Big DRFC Preseason Review!

The squads are forming, the Pre-season games are passing and with it the season is on its way. No more Saturday afternoons watching Tennis out of pure desperation for Sport. Its almost here!

We at the DRSG are delighted to bring you a guest from each club from the 23 teams in League 1 this year and find out their opinions on the season ahead.

Barnsley – Last Season 11th

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By Samual Fort

Sum up your team in six words ?Eagle heights but no swan song.

Where do you think your team will finish this season?
We’re hoping for a
 swift return to the Championship but after the previous attempt it has left a bitter taste in our mouths. Hopefully we dont get off to a rough start to the season and go upwards and onwards to a great start this year

Who do you think will walk away with the league 1 crown?
If I could place a bet the Bantams from Bradford City could be there or there abouts in the playoffs, with the Seagulls flying round Fleetwood town, the cod army could be an outside chance with a surprising end to the last seasons playoff challenge. but my bet would be the Robins of Swindon Town.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
After injury Connor
Hourihane could be one of the key players of the League One with nimble footwork he could turn on a stone, with a flash of his  eye could hit a great strike in to the back of the net.

Which game are you looking forward to most?
Not to miss an away day at Sheffield United the rivalry between the South Yorkshire teams has always got rival fans making snidcomments to each other, but the loser will have a bitter pill to swallow.

 

Blackpool – Last Season 24th (Championship)

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By Royston Butters

Sum up your team in six words?
Club in turmoil, fans standing together

Where do you think you will finish this season?
We’d be very fortunate to finish outside of the relegation zone, and I genuinely mean that. Our supporters, I feel, have completely given up any hope of our club whilst still in the ownership mess we are in. We’ve seen so many clubs before us do the embarrassing fall from grace but having shed 23 players at the end of last season we are massively underprepared with a total lack of hope for the season. Our only solace is if the quality is worse than we expect in this league.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I think Bradford have done well recruiting this summer and have a really solid and experienced manager in Parkinson. They finished fairly highly up last season and I think they’ll be surprise contenders for the title. Expect Millwall to make a recovery and contend – they seemed better than their relegation last season when I saw them play.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
You’ve done plenty of transfer activity which could be for the better or worse… I think you’re expecting to be up the top half of the table, and in terms of the size of your club (based on your recent Championship experience) you should expect to be making playoffs. Then again, I can safely say as a Blackpool fan – club size means nothing; look at our Premiership accolade!!

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
Tough question – we have nine senior players on the books at the moment and I can’t imagine many of them are very motivated by our current set up. Our one shining light last season was top scorer Andrea Orlandi and he is still under contract, a nifty midfielder with bags of flare.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
It absolutely has to be our home match on Boxing Day against Oldham – they are somewhat of a local rival and given it has been a long while since we played them and on boxing day we’re expecting a cracker of a match. The only downside is a lot of supporters boycotting home games, most supporters will be more excited about supporting the team at away fixtures only – for understandable reasons.

There’s been more discussion about off the pitch than off it this pre-season. What’s the fans plans for this season?
We’ve already had some incredibly creative forms of protest against the Oyston family pre season and it sounds strange to say, but we tend to find ourselves bolstered as a support with a sense of unity against our board. As much as it is a very difficult time to be a Seasider, there is great inspiration to be found in the support we’ve had in the media and from other clubs. We’ve had a fan-produced shirt released for sale, which stops money going in to the club yet allows fans to nail their colours to the mast – we’re very much about making it clear we aren’t abandoning our support for the team we love. There will continue to be protests, we’ve had pre season pitch invasions and we will continue to stand united in our goal to take over the club. In no walk of life should someone abuse their position of power like the Oystons are and to accuse one of our own supporters (and customers) of harassment and involving the authorities over a difference of opinion is pathetic and will not be tolerated. 

Bradford – Last Season 7th

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By Juan Luis

 

Sum up your team in six words?
Just give us Chelsea any day!

Where do you think you will finish this season?
There’s a real sense of confidence among many fans in the run up to the new season. The focus on building up an already strong squad with proven, experienced players should at least guarantee a genuine promotion push, but I’m not sure we’ll have quite enough for automatic promotion. Therefore I reckon we’ll finish 4th or 5th.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
It certainly looks to be a particularly difficult title to win this year, with clubs such as Wigan and Millwall joining the mix. Despite their play-off heartache last season, I believe Sheffield United will produce the strongest challenge, but Barnsley and Doncaster should also threaten. I wouldn’t rule out newly-promoted Bury either, given their recent acquisition of the training grounds at Carrington.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
Doncaster looked to be on for a stab at promotion last season but faded away at a crucial time. This season there should be more stability, and I reckon 2nd or 3rd are realistic targets for a club with ample experience of the Championship.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?Although many of the club’s new signings will play an integral part in the push for promotion, one player who will be key above all should be Filipe Morais. The midfielder and former Chelsea youngster showed plenty of flair and potential last season, particularly shown by his performance against his old club at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
A trip to Wigan should be interesting. The last time the Bantams played at the DW Stadium, in the infamous Capital One Cup run of 2012/13, we were in League 2 while Wigan were in the Premier League. How times have changed…

You’ve become more famous for your cup runs the last few years than your League success. Would you like another one this year or would you like some heavy concentration on the League?
Many fans will no doubt be happy if we concentrate more on our League 1 campaign, given that fatigue seemed to be an issue towards the end of last season from the number of matches played. I would mostly agree, although it should be remembered that the cup run in 2013 did not stop us from achieving promotion in the same season.

 

& By  Andrew Hewitt

Sum up your team in six words?
Some good strengths, some poor weaknesses
Where do you think you will finish this season?
Currently I think we slightly weaker than last season. Losing Andrew Davies is a big blow. He was arguably the best centre back in League One.
I would say at present mid table – we need some  more reinforcements, particularly another goalkeeper and centre back. Currently I don’t think we have a proper centre back, to not provide cover but also compete for a place in the first XI.
At the minute replacements our ones who can fill in for a couple of games.
A lot will depend on our home form and if we can make the opposition freeze in front of large crowds.
Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
 Nobody. I did call Bristol City last season but don’t think the league is as strong as last year. You would have to say Sheff Utd will be hovering around the play-offs, if not higher. Millwall and Wigan both came down but Millwall were appalling when we played them last season. Both got inexperienced managers and Wigan had a big squad overhaul.
Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
If they can get new signings bedded in I expect them to improve on last season. Play-offs are a realistic goal.
Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
If can stay fit James Hanson. He started last season great but got injured and then he played a position which was more about doing a job for the team.
Looks like he’s going to be the focal point, so providing we play to his strengths he should have a good season. Needs to improve his goal tally though.
Looking forward to seeing what Josh Morris, signed from Blackburn, is like. Supposedly likes to attack.
Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Shrewsbury at home – first home game of the season. Then there’s the usual big games such as Blades at home.
You’ve become more famous for your cup runs the last few years than your League success. Would you like another one this year or would you like some heavy concentration on the League?
Don’t forget we managed promotion the same season we reached the Capital One Cup final. However, last season’s FA Cup run did detract from our league form but at this level you’re never going to turn down the opportunity to experience what we did last season.
A lot depends where we’re at in the league at the turn of the year.

 We have signed Gary MacKenzie from Blackpool who was on loan at the Valley last season, are you sorry to see him not sign permanently?
I’m not losing any sleep over it. He was a good player and strong but wasn’t good enough to dislodge first choice centre backs.
The fact that we were never in for him this summer probably says a lot. At the minute he would be a good addition, but I’m sure we can get someone in who is just as good, if not better.

Burton – Last Season 1st (League 2)

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By Sharon Taylor
Sum up your team in six words?
Underrated, creative, honest, respected, grafters, backbone.
Where do you think you will finish this season? 
I would be happy with 19th , but fans generally are hoping for mid table. I am by nature more of a realistic pessimist than most.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I’m afraid it has to be Wigan all things considered although it would do them good to have at least a couple of seasons down in League 1 in my opinion.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I hope you get into the play offs but I believe you might fall just short. I would plump for 8th. Certainly a better season than last year for you. My Donnie friend thinks automatic promotion and wants a pint on a bet that DRFC will finish higher than us. Must admit that I agree with him!

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
We don’t tend to have ‘out and out’ star men, but I would go for the captain, midfielder John Mousinho and the defender Phil Edwards. We have a lot of new players so who knows….

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
The first (let’s get it out of the way) and the last, which happens to be against Doncaster. Looking at the League I have already been to 17 of the clubs with Burton so the new ones, along with their pre match hostelries will be the most interesting ones. Millwall will be interesting….

You romped home with the League 2 title. Do you think the bulk of your players will make the step up this year?
I don’t think that we romped home, it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time!

The Burton team has always been better than the sum of its parts – that has been our strength and so it will depend on how the new squad melds. We are still in the transitionary stage of a new Manager. JFH is still putting together his team and style of play, so it is even more difficult a question to answer than if we had only just changed leagues.
The step up is far bigger than from Non League where actually there is not a great deal of difference in the standard of football played, the size of clubs and the money involved between the bottom of one and the top of the other so this season will be interesting to say the least.

 

 

Bury – Last Season 3rd (League 2)

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By Joshua Lee

Sum up your team in six words?
Determined, ambitious, young and experienced, Greatest

Where do you think you will finish this season?
I think we will finish either in or just outside the playoffs. I’m thinking 6/7th

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Barnsley

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
Top half definitely. I’m going to say 9th

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?As the squad currently is I believe our captain Nathan Cameron. He is a rock in defence and we will need his leadership this season.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Dale away

Leon Clarke and Tom Pope already signed. Surely if you don’t score 100+ goals now it’ll be deemed a massive failure?
I wouldn’t say 100+ I would say we need to have a high scoring season but with our other Clarke in CB we need him to pull his finger out and if the strikers aren’t scoring many we need our defence on form to prevent us conceding.

 

Chesterfield – Last Season 6th

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By Ben Littlewood

Sum up your team in six words?
Young, able, organised, efficient, versatile and exciting.

Where do you think you will finish this season?
In my opinion, the club should be finishing in or around tenth position with the calibre of player currently at the Proact Stadium. Finishing in the top half of the league table is a reasonable aim, especially after last season’s fantastic campaign although this Summer appears to be a time of change at the football club

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Considering the battle for the League One title, my first selection would have to be Sheffield United. The appointment of Nigel Adkins represents a change in direction for the Blades and along with one or two first-class acquisitions, they can definitely challenge for the League One title.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
A reasonable aim for Doncaster Rovers during the next campaign would be to try and obtain a play-off spot. Without doubt, the division is extremely competitive this year with the likes of Millwall and Wigan Athletic coming down from the Championship, which is why I’m inclined to think that Paul Dickov’s men will just fall short of a play-off spot in the end.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
Sam Morsy will be the most important player over the course of next season, if he doesn’t leave the club before the end of the Summer transfer window. Strong in the tackle, comfortable with the ball at his feet and extremely accurate in his passing. He is a complete player and shoulders the responsibility of wearing the captain’s armband with absolute ease.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Personally, I’m eagerly anticipating the trip when the Spireites take on Wigan Athletic in January as I’ve never visited the DW Stadium in the past. Also, my view is similar when considering Millwall as I’ve never been to the Den and exploring unknown territory is something that I find extremely interesting.

Dean Saunders has taken the reigns, are you ready for a season of excruciatingly painful to watch but effective football?
Now Dean Saunders has taken over as manager of the football club, I’m curious to see how the team is altered to suit his own style of play. During Paul Cook’s reign, the type of football on show was a pleasure to watch but, I’m more than prepared for some ‘pragmatic’ football during the next campaign.

 

 

Colchester United – Last Season 19th

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By Tyler Smith

Sum up your team in six words?
Hearty, Belief, Gutsy, Never say die.

Where do you think you will finish this season?
This season i would expect us to be in the bottom half of the league or mid-table. I don’t believe that we will be involved in the relegation battle this year as we have been for the previous 3 years as I believe that overall we will have a more competitive squad with the correct balance in Youth and Experience and the management looking to bring in at least 3 experienced players.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Personally i believe that this year is going to be one of the tightest league’s in years with teams barely being able to be split apart. There are many teams that have the potential, but you never know how the season will pan out. If i had to choose a team, it would be Wigan. I feel like they will have the bouncebackability as they already have a good squad with more additions expected.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I would expect Doncaster to have a positive year with them being in the top half of the table with the potential to be a playoff side. If some more good signings were to be made then there would be the chance that they could place even higher, but a solid season will be for Doncaster.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
At this moment in time it is difficult as a Colchester fan to see who will be our star man. With little signings so far and numerous players released, our squad is yet to take its full shape. The midfield area could be crucial with George Moncur and Alex Gilbey having to play crucial roles if we are wanting any success. Chris Porter could also be crucial to the season, as he not only offers experience to our highly youthful squad, but a presence up front. If Porter gets on a run on goals then i would not expect it to end. Gavin Massey is also pivotal to the team. As a winger, he offers the natural ability to set up his team mates, along with a good source of goals. But what many people underestimate is his work on the defensive end. During our fight for survival at the end of last season, Massey’s tracking of runners and tireless effort was exceptional. He may be one to look out for if he gets a good run of form!

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
I think i can speak on behalf  every Colchester United fan when i say that everyone’s eyes are on the return of the Essex Derby. Colchester vs Southend. Having not had a local derby for many many years, it is nice to have that excitement back which will ultimately cause a buzz around the town and a buzz on match-days as well. The away game will also be one of our best away followings, which should cause for quite an atmosphere.

We loved your set up when we visited last year. What can we expect as part of prematch build up for 2015?
I would expect much of the same as a fan coming to the Weston Homes Community Stadium. The matchday feel is something that the club prides itself on, with the intention to provide the best service and experience, for our own fans and the opposition. With bands playing, kids clubs, football activities and other services being offered, i believe our build up could be one of the best around. The club has recently won ‘Family Club of the year’ so if you are intending to come down, bring the family!! The good quality service that our club provides will certainly make the longish journey worth it.

 

Coventry – Last Season 17th

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By Graham Aylott

Sum up your team in six words?
Complicated, Unpredictable, Under achieving, Sleeping Giant!!

Where do you think you will finish this season?
Top Half pushing play offs

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?Sheffield United should but never do, Wigan should be up there but have a feeling a surprise team may come through (Hopefully Coventry or if not Doncaster!!)

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?

Probably same as us pushing for play offs

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?Not sure yet as we have not signed many yet, Jim ‘o’ Brien is good and Reda Johnson if fit is a Talisman for us.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Hard to say, Blackpool away should be good as should Southend for the weekend! Looking forward to going to Wigan as well.

Your last few seasons have been shadowed by off the field antics, now you’re back at the Ricoh, do you think you can stabilise and push for promotion?
I believe we have the right manager now in Mowbray and hope our owners have finally realised that with a bit of investment on the squad we could quite easily push for promotion back to the Championship. We have been so bad for so long though, Mowbray may have his work cut out changing people’s attitudes as we seem to have a losing mentality at the club.

 

Crewe – Last Season 20th

Crewe_Alexandra.svgBy Matt Withers

Sum up your team in six words?
Where high principles meet low ambition…

Where do you think you will finish this season?
After the last couple of years – particularly the most recent, which led some social media wags to barely joke we’d escaped relegation on the last day for the 57th consecutive season – most Crewe fans aren’t looking forward with huge anticipation. We survived last season due to others’ results conspiring to save us as we crumbled at home on the final day and, as it stands, we go into this season with a weaker squad. All the bookmakers have us as favourites to finish rock-bottom, though, so I’ll try to be as positive as possible and say 20th.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I don’t think anybody will walk away with it – I expect it to be more competitive than last season at the very top of the table and nobody will dominate as Bristol City came to. There’s probably four or five teams likely to be in it – Sheffield United, Wigan, Peterborough, Millwall, probably Bradford. On balance, I’ll go for Sheffield United on the basis that Nigel Adkins seems a good fit for them, and the law of averages says they have to get it right eventually.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
With the outsider’s eye – and I have to admit to not keeping too close an eye on your transfer comings and goings over the summer – a bit better than last season. Let’s say ninth.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?Goalkeeper Ben Garratt, and not just because I anticipate him having an awful lot to do. His injury last season, which ruled him out from February, was a massive blow and left a hole much-travelled Paul Rachubka failed to fill. Curiously, of all the youngsters to have dropped off the end of Crewe’s much vaunted “conveyor belt of talent”, we’ve never produced our own goalkeeper to have really made it, and all the signs are the 21-year-old will be the first. He’s not ready to step up quite yet, but I suspect he will, and scouts from Aston Villa and Spurs have already been to take a look at him. If he’s fit and stays, he could well be the difference.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
I’ll tell you which I’m not first – the cruel fixture computer spitting out a derby with Port Vale at home on the very first day of the season. Lose that one and the moroseness will set in immediately, most vividly in the spectacle of fans ringing Radio Stoke phone-ins to demand the sacking of the manager, as if he’s the problem. That aside, and depending on our start, we should take a decent contingent down to Burton, 45 miles south-east, for our first League visit. As an Alex fan exiled in London, it’s slim pickings down here for an away game. Gillingham can always be counted on as the grimmest away trip of the season, in their now 12-year-old “temporary away stand”.

Like Dario Gradi we had a manager in SOD who wanted to play football the right way. Do you think that is the most effective way out of this league?
Well, our experience would suggest not… truth is, there’s no rhyme or reason to whether playing style affects the ability to escape. In the past few years some teams have bored their way up while others have done it with a bit more flair. The most important things are – not necessarily in this order – a decent-sized squad of players with experience at this level or, preferably, above; a solid defence; pace. That last one is vital – the first thing that seems to shock teams coming out of League Two is the visible difference in terms of pace at this level.

 

Fleetwood – Last Season 10th

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By George Ronion

Sum up your team in six words?
Our bubble may have finally burst.

Where do you think you will finish this season?

We surprised most last year with our character on the pitch and had a great start to the campaign. However we seem to have lost a lot of those characters and we may well end up having a real fight this year. The true football fan in me still believes we may have a chance of the playoffs but as I look around there are plenty of teams strengthening far more than we have. Luckily with a few teams in this League in dire straits we may just be able to stave off a relegation fight.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
One from Wigan, Sheffield United and if I was to have an outsider I think Bury will have a good year. They seem to have invested wisely and have two strikers capable of banging in 20 goals. I’ve always been a fan of Peter Clarke as well.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I think you’ll be comfortably playoffs. Losing Bristol City, MK Dons and Preston is good for this division as they normally mooch about the top end of the division and the teams coming down could easily struggle to adapt, especially Blackpool who I think may drop again. 

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
We had the peculiar transfer activity in releasing David Ball at the end of the season only to bring him back in last week. He was pivotal in our promotion from League 2 but didn’t find that form at this level. Bobby Grant from Blackpool looks a promising signing at this level as well.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Has to be Blackpool. Naturally as a football fan I hate to see whats occurring at Bloomfield Road at present but for those two games I’d happily enjoy watching us deliver an embarrassing defeat onto their lads.

You took equal blame for the world renowned ‘most boring game of all time’ last year. Shall we just go on a lash up round Donny this year and ditch the footy?
I thought the footage was kind. It was easily one of the most drab games I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve followed your twitter ever since and am envious of what Doncaster Rovers deliver in terms of output. More clubs should be using that as the benchmark.
The Doncaster pub we went into last year was woeful so probably not. I don’t think I’ll be making the trip this year!

 

Gillingham – Last Season 12th

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By Daniel Storey

Sum up your team in six words?
Local, promising, frustrating, passionate, dark-horses.

 Where do you think you will finish this season?
If we can get the right signings in over the summer we can be a real force next season in a much weaker division.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Tough one to call next season. Now that the three big hitters in Bristol City, MK franchise and Preston have gone up, you would say it’s Sheffield United who really should be winning the division with their budget and support but it doesn’t always work out that way does it. Swindon Town will probably be up there again(sigh), but in all honesty it’s a very open division next season.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
Hard to call this one. Last year I thought you would have done a lot better than you did considering you were relegated from the Championship the previous season, but then again you’re a club in similar statue and resources to us and will always be punching above your weight in the Championship. I predict you will be in and around mid table.


Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
Cody McDonald is still the main goal scoring threat but we do rely on his goals a bit too much. If we can a decent striker partner in over the summer it will ease the burden on Cody. Centre Half John Egan was a rock in defence last season and if he has another season like last then we won’t keep hold of him for much longer.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Millwall home and away. We haven’t played this lot for a few years now and they’re always lively affairs. Plus we’re now in a division stacked full to the brim of northern teams next season(19 to be precise!) so the eight games against the four teams based down South will be something to cherish!

How much heartache do you feel every time you see an image of Dickov?
Well if Sky Sports could take a break from showing it during their playoff coverage we might be able to forget it! Joking aside yeah it isn’t easy to watch back but we gained promotion the following season and went on to have five glorious seasons in the second tier so things didn’t turn out too bad for us did they really.

 

Millwall – Last Season 22nd (Championship)

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By Ezra Carr 


Where do you think you will finish this season?
Going into the season myself and most Millwall fans will be happy just steadying the ship we lost a lot of players this season and not been to busy on bringing faces in. However saying that I don’t see why the squad we have shouldn’t push for the play offs championship players shouldn’t struggle at league 1 level so a respectable 5th.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Wigan or Sheff Utd for me both have some quality players in their ranks. If pushed i would go for Sheff utd the disappointment of the play offs added to the players they have added I really can’t see them not going up.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I would like to see Doncaster do well for Chaplow but I honestly don’t think you have enough depth to your squad. I’m going to say a build on last season and maybe about 10th

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season? Has to be Morrison the 2 seasons he spent with us before he was absolutely outstanding. Hopefully he can find that form once more and fire us up the league table

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
On a personal note I have a lot of family up in Southend so would love to get one over on them. More so after the humiliation of the last time we played them in the FA cup (we lost 4-1)we have a lot to prove

 

 

Oldham – Last Season 15th

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By Mark Winterbottom

Sum up your team in six words?
Yet another year in League One

Where do you think you will finish this season?
It’s always difficult to tell at this stage, particularly with another new manager who has no experience.  We have managed to hold on to some of our better players though so far which is more than we have done in recent seasons. I can see it being a difficult campaign but I think we should have enough to stay up. I would guess at 17th.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I think it is difficult to look past Wigan. Any team dropping into League One whilst still receiving parachute payments should walk away with the league. Wolves proved that a couple of years back.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I thought you looked very poor when we played you at your place last year but you seemed much better by the time you came to Boundary Park in both the league and cup. I’m not sure you are strong enough for promotion but I would expect you to challenge for the play-offs.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?Many expect to see Liam Kelly depart before August but if we can keep him that would be a huge bonus. He struggled with injuries after Christmas this time but looked to have huge potential.
If he goes, I would like to think that Lee Croft can recreate the form he had before he left us 2 years ago. He seems to have come back much leaner and he was our player of the season when he left.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
It’s got to be Burton away for me as it will be my only new ground this season.

Paul Dickov – your thoughts?
Paul will always have a place in my heart after our cup run when we beat Forest and Liverpool.
I thought he had huge potential during his early days with us but he lacked a plan B and whilst we were performing so well in that cup run he couldn’t motivate the players in the league. I was sorry to see him go but it was the right decision.
I am surprised,  but pleased, that you have stuck with him after a couple of disappointing campaigns.

 

Peterborough United – Last Season 9th

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By Dale Peet

Where do you think you will finish this season?
I think this year will be a tough season for everyone. I’d like to think we could win the league but that’s a bit ambitious so I’m going to say anywhere in the play off region I’d be happy with.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Well this year there is a lot of good competition with the likes of Millwall, Sheffield United, Posh and Swindon but overall the winners for me has to be Wigan Athletic. They have a brilliant squad, have not lost many players and brought in a few too.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
After last season it could be anywhere but I think just the same as most of this League you have a shot at doing well and I’d tip them you to be up in the play offs probably 5th or 6th.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
We have retained a lot of our good players from last season and hope we’ve had more coming in but I think in his role as captain this year and his season last year I’m going to say Michael Bostwick. He is a fantastic player with alot of attributes and can play the ball about. 

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to going to Chesterfield Away mainly because it’s a nice small Stadium which suits them and can generate a lot of noise that stays within the Ground and doesn’t wander off like most Stadiums I’ve been to. With it being a relatively new Stadium it’s a nice place to visit.

You’ve had a fantastic record for finding gems and making big profits on them. Who’s in the pipeline this year?
Well we’ve brought a few players in as well but just from the pre-season friendlies I’m going to say the young lad called Joe Gormley from Cliftonville. He has some fantastic skills, pace and knows exactly where the net is and could be a fantastic buy for our Boys in Blue. 

 

Port Vale – Last Season 18th

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By Wilson Drongo

Where do you think you will finish this season?
We had a disastrous time at the start of last season and picked it up as the season went on. On paper our first few games certainly look winnable, I’d expect victories from Crewe and Gillingham. We then have a home game against you which I see as our first proper test of the season.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I’ve backed Doncaster for promotion. Think the players you’ve brought in have been excellent. I don’t understand Swindons rationale in releasing Williams but thats your gain. Chaplow is surely too good for this level and keeping Wellens will only assist your credentials further.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
Nothing to add on what I’ve put above. The loan market could impact especially with the Premier League squad ruling.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
Uche Ikpeazu was a beast for Crewe against us last year so I’m really happy to see him lining up for us next year. He’s built like an Ox and unfortunately its the effective way in this division. He’s not the prettiest forward but he’ll win us games.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
We got the double done over us by Crewe last year, a real low point for the club as we normally do much better over our smaller neighbours. Luckily with Ikpeazu on the other side this year we should be able to beat them in the ugly way they beat us last time around.

Your away end is a disgrace. Isn’t it about time you sorted that score board out?
Having never been in our away end I’d never know, however I wont hear a bad thing about the Wembley of the North. I’d much rather be playing in a run down old style ground than an identikit stadium with the atmosphere problems it brings with it.

 

Rochdale – Last Season 8th

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By Greg Ingham

Sum up your team in six words?
Up the Dale, down the ale!

Where do you think you will finish this season?  
I think 13th, I can’t see us topping last season which was the highest league position in the history of the club, but mid table I would settle for. Above Bury or Oldham would be a bonus.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Millwall or Sheff Utd

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
11th

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
Ian Henderson. Last season only 5 or 6 players from all 3 football league divisions scored more than he did.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Wigan away, I’ve been to 50+ football stadiums with The Dale, but Wigan away is another to tick off the box and quite local. Bramall Lane is always a great away day too.

We have played more matches against you than any other side in the Football League, is that the most depressing stat you’ve ever heard?
The most depressing stat is that we’ve never won a trophy in over 107 years, so if any team deserves it anytime soon, it’s Rochdale. Keith Hill deserves to lift a trophy because of all the hard work him and the club have put in discovering such talented players recently such as Grant Holt, Will Buckley, Rickie Lambert, Craig Dawson, Le Fondre, Glenn Murray and more.

Scunthorpe United – Last Season 16th

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By Mark Johnson

Sum up your team in six words?
A quality team ready for promotion.

Where do you think you will finish this season?
With our quality preseason additions in defence, midfield and up top, I like most Iron supporters are expecting a top 6 finish this season.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I expect Wigan to take the League 1 title. Although as other “big clubs” have proven, its not an easy league to get out of, just look at Sheffield United. 

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I think Rovers will finish just outside the Play Offs at 8th.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
I think our star man this season will be Hakeeb Adelakun, a young winger who can turn the opposition inside out & unleash powerful goals. He could play at the top leave if he keeps learning and stays grounded.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to our game at the Keepmoat. I can walk there in a few minutes and its usually a good Derby atmosphere. Also it’s about time we beat Rovers away! 

You’ve had an abysmal record against us for the last few years. Another 6 points coming our way?
We’ve sorted our defence,  strengthened our midfield & forwards preseason with quality players. So we should give you a good game. I think we’ll take 4 or possibly 6 points from Rovers this season for a change.

 

 Sheffield United – Last Season 5th

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By John Revill

Sum up your team in six words?
Big club but overly confident underachievers.

Where do you think you will finish this season?
I think this could finally be our season. We all know if we make the playoffs then its a foregone that we’ll be in League 1 so it has to be automatic promotion. On that basis I’m going for 2nd.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Must be Wigan. With a budget that will eclipse the rest of the division I expect them to steamroll this year. The runners up is the real title this year.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
6th, you’ve brought in enough quality to be chasing the playoffs but looking at your squad you could do with a couple of defenders to sure things up.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
James Wallace if he can stay fit. Unfortunately his career has been blighted with them so far and he’s never managed to get a decent season as a result. Billy Sharp returning is also a huge coup for him and Adkins should be able to get the best out of him. Finally we might see Billy scoring goals for us.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Rovers at home, it goes without saying. Last seasons was a really good advertisement for this division and you were unlucky not to take anything from the game.

To the outside eye Nigel Clough did a decent enough job. Do you think Adkins will be the man to finally lead you out of this division?
Clough treated the squad like kids ( or so it seemed ) and appeared to have favourites. Adkins is like a breath of fresh air. I really hope so is the answer!

 

Shrewsbury – Last Season 2nd (League 2)

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By Chika Red

Sum up your team in six words?
Happy with adapting for this season

Where do you think you will finish this season?
I honestly don’t know. This League seems to consist of a few who spend a bit of money and a shed load who pick up frees making any of those contenders for relegation depending on how good the manager getting the frees is. I’d like us to try and aim for the top end of that pack. I don’t think we’ll touch the playoffs but I don’t think we’ll flirt with relegation either.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Sheffield United should literally walk away with it. Good manager and good signings so its really theirs to lose. Being serial under performers may cost them though and if they don’t achieve it through the automatics then they might as well write off the playoffs before they’ve started.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I actually think you’ll be up there. Williams seems a class signing even at his age and he clearly has goals in him. Looking at your squad in preparation for this piece shows you have good strength in depth as well which not many teams in this League can boast.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
If we manage to keep hold of him then it will be Connor Goldson. At 22 years old he’s already commanding and as a result has attracted interest from other clubs, the last rumours being Bradford City. He’s certainly capable of making the step to the next level so I’ll be disappointed if he moves to another side in this League.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
In terms of local rivals we’ve got Walsall. It’d be fantastic to do the double over them this year. There’s a few new grounds I’ve never been to this year including the Keepmoat so I’ll be definitely be making the trip to Doncaster this time around.

For most Rovers fans this will be a new ground to visit, what’s the best piece of advise you can give for a visit to The New Meadow?
The away end normally generates a bit of noise if your bunched together. I’d also recommend using a coach or car to get here as the grounds not the best to get to via local transport.

 

Southend – Last Season 5th (League 2)

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By Tom Ross

Sum up your team in six words?
Can’t do anything the easy way!

Where do you think you will finish this season?
Been our first season back in league 1, I would be happy for a mid table finish. Had too much drama for a lifetime these last 5 years! Plus higher than Colchester would be a bonus!

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
For me I think Sheff United will be up there, don’t know about walking away with it.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I can see them finishing just outside the play offs to mid table.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?Our youngster keeper Dan Bentley, pulled off some fantastic saves throughout the year consistently. Broke a 30+ year record by not conceding at home in the league for 11 games.
And little Jack Payne. He managed 8 goals in his first professional season. Teams just didn’t know how to handle him. Southends Messi.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
Colchester home and away most definitely. Been waiting too long to play that lot!

It would appear you’re set for a goalkeeper windfall. Will this be invested back into the squad?
I hope we get to keep him for at least this season. As for the investment us fans have been waiting since 2007 to see the “Freddy Eastwood money” we received £1.2mill and it mysteriously disappeared possibly into the chairmans pockets.

 

 

Swindon – Last Season 4th

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By Matt Arnold

Where do you think you will finish this season?
Up until a week before the season started, I’d have predicted lower mid table, but the resigning of last years Player Of The Year Jordan Turnbull, a young centre back on loan from Southampton has given me new hope. I think we’ll just miss out on the Play Offs

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Wigan could run them close but it’s hard to see beyond Sheffield United. Adkins is a fantastic appointment at this level, and an song Billy Sharp is a terrifying prospect for any League 1 defence

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
You’ve bought well, if you can keep him fit AND confident Andy Williams should go great guns again this year. Mackenzie and Taylor-Sinclair, on paper, are very good signings. After his stop-start, short spell here I’m less convinced by Dany N’Guessan, but I still think you’ll make the top 6

Why do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
Aside from the aforementioned Turnbull, our Captain Nathan Thompson has a lot resting on his shoulders on and off the pitch. He’s only 24 but he’s got to help a squad, half of whom are new to the club, bond quickly

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
As a London based fan Millwall away in October, and Southend in (hopefully) the late August sunshine should be good trips. We’ve nothing approaching a derby this year, with Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Oxford all in other divisions, so I’m not sure which home games will capture the imagination of the fanbase as a whole.

Playoff heartbreak for your boys. With the gulf in class shown in the final do you think a year of building further will be a benefit?
It’s tricky to know, because so many of that team have moved on. Last season the lack of experience in the squad (the average age of the starting 11 was about 21) really told during the run in. We’ve probably got even less experience in the current crop, so if we challenge again, and it’s a big if, avoiding another late season slump will be key.

 

Walsall – Last Season 14th

Walsall_FC.svg

By Tim Allen

Sum up your team in six words?

The epitome of mid table mediocrity

Where do you think you will finish this season?
See above. Too good to go down but probably not quite enough for a playoff push

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
Wigan will take some beating, they must have a budget that eclipses all others.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year? League 1 is such a mad league you could finish literally earlier. You didn’t impress me last season though so I’m going to say 14th

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season? Lalkovic could potentially play at a much higher level so would have to say him.

Which game are you looking forward to the most? Blackpool away is always a treat. Especially as it should be an easy three points this season. A Walsall win, fish and chips and getting absolutely shit faced sounds like a fun day for the whole family

James Baxendale – did we do the right thing in letting him go? Definitely. Scored a few scorchers but is all style over substance. He would probably benefit from a drop down to league 2

 

Wigan – Last Season 23rd (Championship)

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By Ryan Hoey

Where do you think you will finish this season?
I think we are capable of finishing top 6, I’d be very happy with a top 6 finish as there are some good teams in League One. I think will finish about 8th. Quite a few of our fans are underestimating how good the league is.

Who do you think will walk away with the League 1 crown?
I think Sheffield United will win the league as it’s about time they got out of the league and they’ve got a good manager in Nigel Adkins, who’s been there and done it before with Reading & Southampton, so he has got good experience also they have a good enough squad.

Where do you think DRFC will finish this year?
I think Doncaster will finish about 10th ish. Possibly a late push for top 6.

Who do you think will be your key man for the upcoming season?
I think Will Gregg will be very important and possibly our key man as he scored 20 goals for MK Dons last season and has experience in League 1 also he helped them get automatic promotion and hopefully he can continue his form from last season with us.

Which game are you looking forward to the most?
For me personally home mid week games I can go to due to refereeing on Saturdays, but for most fans, probably local away games, such as Blackpool, Fleetwood, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale away as we should take a decent following. 

You should have a wage bill that will massively eclipse all of this division. Are you worried that if you don’t bounce back quickly then you’ll end up in financial difficulties?
No, I’m not worried because I think we are financially sound. However, our premier league parachute payments will end soon so that might be a worry.

 

Doncaster Rovers 5-2 Scunthorpe United: Match Review by Rob Johnson

Just under ten thousand showed up for the final game of the season against Scunthorpe United and what a game it was. The Rovers faithful didn’t have to wait long to hear Tom Hark as Forrester was scythed down on the left hand side and Bennett’s resulting free kick was powered into his own net in convincing style by Scunthorpe defender and failure at life Niall Canavan

Five minutes later Scunthorpe endured another hilarious moment as Wellens sprinted 20 yards to keep the ball in play near the right sided corner flag only to play a terrible back pass to Rob Jones who was so slow to react he appeared to be a walking tree whose roots were still stuck deep in the ground. Kevin van Veen picked up the loose ball and in the resulting scramble the ball fell to Neal Bishop who somehow contrived to hit the bar from 8 yards out with Marosi in no man’s land. Cue huge ironic cheering from the South Stand.

Scunthorpe’s glorious misery was further compounded on 33 minutes when the lively Forrester performed a bit of skill that left me hiding my erection from my fiancé before cutting inside and setting Kyle Bennett free on the right hand side to hang a perfect cross up to the middle of the goal for Tyson to bundle home.

Rovers surprised everyone by continuing to look like an actual football team, unlike in recent weeks, showing passion and composure to keep Scunny at arm’s length with Evina of all people looking solid and Jones and Butler dealing with a series of corners convincingly. Just before half time an unusually quiet Coppinger created a yard of space for himself to fire in a low shot from 20 yards which was parried round the post by Scunthorpe keeper and general bad human being Luke Daniels. Forrester whipped in the resulting corner and Rob Jones headed home almost as emphatically as all round joke Niall Canavan earlier in the half.

So Rovers went in 3-0 up at half time much to the amazement of the fans and most of the players. Alarm bells were ringing early in the second half when Scunny dominated possession resulting in the now inevitable ridiculous piece of defending and a goal for Scunthorpe. An innocuous ball into the box was somehow not dealt with by first Jones, then Marosi, then Butler with all three stumbling around like new born baby deer before the ball came back off the post and hit a confused looking Andy Butler and trickled into an empty net. Not surprisingly this led to Scunthorpe’s best period of the match but a lot of possession and balls into the box heralded few chances with Rovers rearguard remaining strong and Dean Furman mopping up well in the middle of the park.

On 67 minutes we saw a sign of things to come as a rare Rovers breakaway saw a majestic ball over the top from Wellens to put Bennett through on goal albeit at a difficult angle but Bennett struggled to get the ball out of his feet and the chance went begging. More fruitless Scunthorpe possession followed but they didn’t heed the warning from Rovers previous counter attack with Wellens again playing a brilliant long ball to Harry Forrester who drew a quite frankly ridiculous tackle from one of the Scunny lot in the box. Forrester was going nowhere and had two players marking him. Tyson stepped up confidentally and sent the keeper the wrong way to put Rovers 4-1 up.

Things went from bad to worse for poor old Scunthorpe as brilliant run from Forrester starting thirty yards from Scunthorpe’s goal and ending with him being completely taken out in the box after already beating two men. Tyson again stepped up this blasting straight down the middle to send the Rovers fans into rapture and also evoking memories of a certain famous Mickey Norbury hat trick. Scunny’s players and few remaining fans seemed to want the game over as soon as possible so other than the introduction of former Rovers favourite Dave Syers (to a nicely observed ovation from the Rovers fans) on 81 minutes nothing else much happened until added time when Rovers decided to let the clowns out of the clown car one last time this season with another laughable goal conceded. 18 year old Scunthorpe forward Hakeeb Adeola Abiola Ayinde Adelakun (this is honestly his name) clipped a free kick into the box only for all our defenders to miss it and rookie goalkeeper Marko Marosi to inexplicably decide to leapfrog over the ball.

While this took the sheen off an otherwise brilliant win ever so slightly, Nathan Tyson has written his name in the Rovers history books forever and Dickov should be encouraged by a much improved performance and a blindingly good showing from Harry Forrester.

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The ‘M180’ Derby – DRFC vs SUFC Match Preview

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.

RTID

Rob’s prediction: 0-0