Opposition Profile: Doncaster Rovers Doncaster Rovers’ League One campaign has seen a productive start with two wins, a draw and a loss as they attempt to return to the division they exited so dramatically at the end of last season.
Their most recent match, a 1-0 win against Colchester United, saw them move to ninth place, and comes after their draw against promotion candidates Preston North End and a 3-0 victory over fellow relegated side Yeovil Town on the opening day. Only a 3-1 loss to Port Vale spoils their record so far.
Over the last two seasons, Rovers have felt both the ecstasy and agony of last day drama. Their clinching of the League One title in 2013 came with a 95th minute winner against Brentford, snatching the title from AFC Bournemouth in the process. However their exit from the Championship a year later came in similar circumstances; Paul Caddis’ 93rd minute equaliser for Birmingham City against Bolton Wanderers ensured that it would be Doncaster, and not Lee Clark’s men, who were relegated.
Since then, the squad has looked to rebuild on a budget, as the potential purchase of the club by One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson fell through.
Rovers’ manager Paul Dickov has seen eight players leave and in their place, five new faces, all on free transfers, or a player exchange in the case of Curtis Main, who left Middlesbrough as part of Boro’s deal to sign James Husband.
In addition to their signings, Doncaster will be happy to see the return of midfielder Harry Forrester, who spent the majority of last season injured. Signed from Brentford last summer, Forrester only managed three starts in the Championship due to a number of setbacks, including knee surgery in February. But since the start of this year’s campaign, Forrester has managed two goals in three appearances. However, he will miss the match against Watford, the team he once played for as a youth player, whilst serving a three-game suspension due to a red card picked up at Doncaster’s loss to Port Vale.
Whilst Doncaster are unbeaten on the road this season in all competitions, their matches away from the Keepmoat Stadium were their downfall in the Championship, managing only two wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, compared to the nine at home. Furthermore, their away fixtures only brought 12 goals, at the price of 38 conceded.
Against Watford last season, Doncaster recorded a 2-1 victory in front of their home crowd, whilst losing by the same scoreline at Vicarage Road. The Hornets’ stadium is not one that many Donny fans will remember ever leaving with a victory; their last win away to Watford was in 1960, in the old Fourth Division.
Rovers progressed to the second round of the Capital One Cup with a 1-0 win at League Two side York City, with an injury-time winner netted by the aforementioned Forrester. Their success in the league has been helped by the two goals from Kyle Bennett, who has proven himself to Dickov, following a loan spell at Bradford City last season.
Doncaster Rovers XI vs Colchester United (23/8/14): Steer; Wabara, Evina, McCullough, McCombe; De-Val, Coppinger, Keegan, Furman; Robinson, Bennett.