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by The Rovers Review

Rovers are rewarded to a mid-week treat as they head to Emirates Stadium to face Premier League’s Arsenal this Wednesday.

Even though he was ruled out for this game, Tommy Rowe is in full contention after making a surprise return in Rovers’ 0-1 defeat to Scunthorpe last Sunday. Rowe did bruise his calf during the game, but should be okay to play again.

One of Sunday’s absentee’s, Jordan Houghton could make a return. He missed Sunday’s game through sickness.

Ferguson’s big dilemma is whether to reward veterans such as James Coppinger, who would usually sit out of cup matches due to his age or give him a start in a game which could be one of the final big ones of his career.
Coppinger himself did also start in the game when Rovers last faced the Gunners, so it would be good to see twelve years later at the Emirates in the same cup competition.

Most famously the last time Rovers faced Arsene Wenger’s side was in the fifth round of this cup in 2005, where Rovers drew 2-2 with goals from Michael McIndoe and Paul Green over 120 minutes, but after a Silva equaliser on the 120th minute Rovers were forced to penalties, where they consequently lost 3-1.

Predicted line-up vs Arsenal
Lawlor; Alcock, Butler, Wright, Toffolo; Houghton, Whiteman, Rowe, Coppinger; Marquis and May.
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by The Rovers Review

Darren Ferguson is looking to freshen up his squad after admitting that some of the players are already out of form in this early stage of the season.

Defeat to bottom of the league Northampton Town meant it was the final straw for some players; Darren Ferguson said,
"I've got a squad and I will be using it. I feel there's too many players out of form, even at this stage, I think there's too many.
"And for me, I think there needs to be changes to the team."

So, where exactly might these changes come? Jordan Houghton will be at full fitness and would suggest he's ready to make a return to the starting 11, while James Coppinger came off the bench and impressed which could show he'll start this Tuesday.

Last seasons star striker John Marquis' spot could be in doubt after his performances as of late have been below-par and has only scored two goals so far this season. This could be the lifeline that Andy Williams needs to make his mark back in the first-team.

Dales joint top goalscorers are former Sheffield United forward, Steve Davies and the on loan from Peterborough midfielder, Brad Inman, who both have three goals to their names.

The last time Doncaster Rovers visited Spotland it ended all square at 2-2, with a late equaliser from Niall Canavan in extra time after ninety minutes. Rovers' two goals came from Mitchell Lund and Andy Butler.

Predicted line-up vs Rochdale
Lawlor; Mason, Wright, Butler, Toffolo; Houghton, Rowe, Whiteman, Coppinger; May and Williams.
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by The Rovers Review

Rovers’ next challenge comes from the bottom of League One, and the latest team to come under new management, Northampton Town.
 
After coming through 90 minutes in the reserve team mid-week, Jordan Houghton remains available for this Saturday’s trip, although Darren Ferguson doesn’t want to risk him by playing two lots of ninety minutes in one week.
 
New left back Harry Toffolo will come into Ferguson’s thoughts this week after completing his first full week of training with his Rovers team mates. His place could come at the expense of Tyler Garratt who impressed last weekend after making his first start of the season should Ferguson revert back to 4-4-2, however if he keeps his 5-3-2 system, Toffolo could become wing-back at the cost of Tommy Rowe.
 
So far this campaign, Northampton have only scored two goals and have conceded ten, so more than likely would indicate Rovers are to get clean sheet, however Hasslebaink may have the Cobblers going all out to amend their current form in his debut game.
 
The last time these two teams met was on Boxing Day 2007, where Rovers were two-nil victors. But last time Rovers travelled to Sixfields it ended two-nil to the Cobblers, with goals then from Ryan Gilligan and Andy Kirk.
 
Predicted line-up vs Northampton Town
Lawlor; Blair, Butler, Wright, Garratt, Toffolo; Rowe, Whiteman, Coppinger; Marquis and May.
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by The Rovers Review

Early league leaders Peterborough United visit the Keepmoat this Saturday as Ferguson faces his former employers.

Bitter-sweet news for Rovers going into this game as new left back Danny Andrew has been ruled out for the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury that he sustained against AFC Wimbledon last weekend. Darren Ferguson had to act quickly in the transfer window by bringing in Norwich City left back, Harry Toffolo on loan until January 3rd.

Jordan Houghton was another deadline day signing as he returns for his second spell at the club and Ferguson has said that he is match fit and comes straight into contention. He did, however, allude to the fact that he has got a selection head ache in regards to what personnel to deploy in midfielder saying that Houghton is more established as a defensive cover in midfield than Whiteman.

Mathieu Baudry, Luke McCullough and Alex Kiwomya all remain unavailable.

Rovers' defence is going to have to be on high alert as Poshs' top scorer, Jack Marriott is on the form of his life after scoring six goals in four appearances. The last time Posh visited the Keepmoat was in March 2016, where Rovers lost 2-1 with Rovers' only goal coming from James Coppinger in fifth minute. Only five players that started against Peterborough that day remain at the club (Alcock, McCullough, Coppinger, Williams and Butler).

Predicted line-up vs Peterborough United
Lawlor; Mason, Butler, Wright, Toffolo; Houghton, Rowe, Blair, Coppinger; May and Marquis.
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by The Rovers Review

Undefeated from the opening day of the season in all competitions, and brimming with confidence, Rovers travel to Wimbledon for the final game of August.

After scoring four goals in as many games, Alfie May comes into contention to start this Saturday after Darren Ferguson admitted it would be "harsh" to drop the in-form 24-year-old and it is likely that it will come at the expense of Rovers youngster, Liam Mandeville.

Mathieu Baudry has hit a set-back in his recovery from injury as he was supposed to be almost fit for this fixture, however his recovery date has been taken back to towards the end of September now along with Luke McCullough.

Ahead of this Saturday's trip, Darren Ferguson had the following to say,
“Saturday now is a big game now in the fact that if we win it, you would have to say it’s a very good first month of the season. You would’ve taken that, third round of the cup, two points per game.
But obviously we’ve got to win the game. Saturday’s going to be a very tough one. They’ve played one formation out of their last four games. They’ve got a front three that are very lively and can be a handful.”

The last time Rovers actually faced Wimbledon was in January 1982, where they lost 3-1 at Belle Vue. However, the last time we visited them - in the same season - we won 1-0.

Predicted line-up vs AFC Wimbledon
Lawlor, Mason, Wright, Butler, Andrew, Whiteman, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger, May, Marquis
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