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by The Rovers Review

ROVERS will travel to Blackburn Rovers in their first away game of the season on the back of their thrilling 3-2 win over Bradford City in the cup midweek.

Team news-wise, Darren Ferguson confirmed that Tuesday's absentees (Coppinger, Blair, Williams, Mandeville) will all come back into contention this weekend. In addition, Issam Ben Khemis has had his international cleared accepted, so he is now an option for Ferguson down the left.

Pre-match Ferguson was very confident in John Marquis, after not scoring all pre-season and for the first two games, Ferguson reflected that he didn't score until his third game last season and that as long as he's getting goals from other areas of the pitch and Marquis still puts in a shift - he's not too concerned.

When asked about Blackburn, Ferguson had the following to say, "He [Tony Mowbray] is a very good manager, very, very good manager. He's like the club itself and a lot of their players, not a League One manager. They're very organized and it's gonna be a tough game."

It's also fair to say they do have a lot of good players too, with a strong midfield consisting of the likes of Bradley Dack and Richie Smallwood, then up front the likes of Danny Graham along with an experienced defense consisting of Paul Caddis.

Predicted lineup v Blackburn Rovers
Lawlor; Mason, Wright, Butler, Andrew; Whiteman, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger; Marquis and Mandeville
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Rovers are set to kick off their campaign in the Carabao Cup, with a visit to local rivals Bradford City.

After drawing 0-0 with Gillingham last Saturday, Darren Ferguson will certainly be looking for his players to be more clinical in front of goal this coming Tuesday evening.

Matty Blair is a doubt for this game, due to it being is brother’s funeral the following day, so Darren Ferguson has said that he will talk to Blair about whether he wants to play – stating the decision is down to Blair himself. This could mean a first start for new signing, Rodney Kongolo, who came on during the second half v Gillingham on Saturday, keeping the game alive!

Andy Williams and Issam Ben Khemis will also miss the game through a hamstring injury and international clearance, respectively.
Darren Ferguson has hinted at making a subtle rotation ahead of this game, citing that he thinks some players won’t be at full match fitness until the end of August.

Last time Rovers faced Bradford City was in March 2016, where Rovers lost 2-1 at the Coral Windows Stadium with Jamie Proctor scoring a double for the Bantams, while Nathan Tyson grabbed a consolidation goal.

Predicted lineup v Bradford City
Marosi; Mason, Alcock, Wright, Garratt; Whiteman, Kongolo, Rowe, Co; Marquis and Mandeville.
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by The Rovers Review

It’s back! We can all breathe a sigh of relief as Rovers kick off their season back in League One at home to Gillingham this Saturday.

After signing for Rovers back in June 2017, Alex Kiwomya hasn’t been able to play a game since after picking up an injury after completing his medical but has since had an injury that Ferguson revealed could have even ended his playing career, but Ferguson himself is confident he’ll be able to be back in a Rovers shirt within two months. The issue Kiwomya has is that he's got something called guillain-barre syndrome which was described by Darren Ferguson as something that, “attacks the nervous system”.

Signing from Manchester City on Thursday, on loan, Rodney Kongolo, comes straight into Darren Ferguson's plans for this weekend as he, “offers something a wee bit different [in the midfield area]”. He also stated that Kongolo can play in around three different midfield positions, with him playing on the right his best position.

Ferguson has also pin-pointed Gillingham’s attacking duo Tom Eaves and Josh Parker as Rovers main threat, stating their pace as the potential areas that could damage Rovers.

The last time Rovers faced Gillingham at the Keepmoat was during the 2014/15 season, where Rovers drew 2-2 with goals from Cameron Stewart and Andy Williams.
 
Predicted lineup v Gillingham
Lawlor; Blair, Alcock, Butler, Andrew; Kongolo, Whiteman, Rowe, Coppinger; Mandeville and Marquis.
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Lifelong Rovers fan and VSC member Dave Burkitt is raising money for Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support, a charity the VSC have supported in the past and one that helps the families of many rovers fans all over Doncaster on a daily basis. If you can afford a couple of quid to help Dave reach jis £1000 target, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/davidburkittlondon
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by The Rovers Review

The title race heats up as it goes down to the final day of the season as Rovers prepare to take on relegation-threatened, Hartlepool United.

To be crowned champions, Rovers need to make sure that they get three points and that Plymouth fall to a defeat at the hands of Rovers local rivals, Grimsby Town.

Pre-match, Darren Ferguson confirmed there was no more injuries sustained to his team meaning only defender, Mathieu Baudry will be unavailable for this game.

After changing tactics and formation last weekend - playing 4-3-3 with Marquis up top on his own, supported by Rowe and Blair on the left and right respectively - he said that he'd be going back to something more familiar for Rovers (so the 4-4-2 looks to make a comeback). This in turn means a place has just opened up next to John Marquis for this game with Alfie May, Liam Mandeville and Andy Williams all looking to make their way back into the team.

In an attempt for Rovers to have one last chance of claiming the league two title, Ferguson has changed how he's done his training this week, citing that he's made it more "fun" for the players, because he thinks that the pressure of winning the title has got to the players and caused this 'dip' in form, so he's decided to try and take the weight off of the player's shoulders.

Former Rovers striker, Billy Paynter will be entering his second game as assistant manager of Hartlepool United and former Rovers defender, captain and manager, Rob Jones is out injured for the Pools.

Head-to-heads
Hartlepool haven't won any of their last 8 games drawing 2 two of them and losing the rest, consequently, this puts Hartlepool as the team with the worst form in the league. While Rovers have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 4 from their 8 games.

Defensively, Hartlepool are the second worst team in the league after conceding 74 goals from 45 games and Rovers have conceded 53 in as many games.

Players to watch
Their top goal scorer is Padraig Amond who has scored 14 league goals this season. For assists, striker, Lewis Alessandra has got the most for the Pools with him making 9 assists in the league.

Previous encounters
During the reverse fixture this season, Rovers won 2-1 at the Keepmoat with goals from John Marquis and Liam Mandeville and their current top goal-scorer, Amond cut the deficit for the Pools that day too.

Last time Rovers visited Victoria Park was in league one during 2012 where it finished 1-1 with Rovers only goal coming from Rob Jones.

Overall, Rovers have won 38, drawn 28 and lost 34 against Hartlepool since 1924.

Predicted lineup v Hartlepool United
Lawlor; Alcock, Wright, Butler, Mason; McCullough, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger; Mandeville and Marquis.
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