by The Rovers Review
After a thrilling 4-1 victory at home to Yeovil Town on Saturday, Darren Fergusons' men look to make it four on the bounce with a win in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night at Mansfield.
Mansfield away is the first trip in the competition for Doncaster, as they embark on the first round of the Checkatrade trophy round 1, but all does not lie on this game, as we still have to play Port Vale and Derby Countys' academy. For this match I'd like to see some of the younger players have a run out, such as Pugh, Mandeville and Beestin, but one thing that would mean, is that Ferguson would have to dismantle a squad with a winning mentality.
One problem for sure is our defence; we now have 7 injured defenders, with Mitchell Lund the latest casualty vs Yeovil last Saturday, but now we also lose Joe Wright, who has been called up to Wales U21 squad and will miss Mansfield and Crewes' game. So that only leaves us with Evina and Butler as recognised defenders, but this could create an opportunity for youngsters Reece Fielding and Danny Amos.
I can also see goalkeeper Ross Etheridge having a chance to redeem himself during the cup, after being dropped for Marko Marosi very early on this season.
One thing is for certain and that is Ferguson will want to keep Williams in the squad, after the striker netted three goals in his last match; he'll want Williams to hopefully continuing to score to keep up the flow. No players are expected to return from injury for this match, as Paul Keegan has been ruled out for an extra month, and Baudry and McSheffrey are about 3 or 4 weeks away too.
Last time Rovers played Mansfield was ten years ago, in the FA cup. We drew 1-1 with them at their ground, but in the replay we beat them 2-0 at Belle Vue. Mark McCammon, Paul Heffernan and Brian Stock all scoring during those two matches. Overall, Rovers have won 19 of their 65 previous meetings since 1932, but with it being 10 years since we last faced them, will we manage to make it 20?
Predicted line-up v Mansfield:
Etheridge; Fielding, Butler, Amos; Blair, Middleton, Beestin, Calder, Evina; Pugh and Williams.
by The Rovers Review
Doncaster earned their second win of the season last weekend against Gary Johnsons' Cheltenham Town, and they look to strengthen that with a win when Yeovil Town visit the Keepmoat this Saturday. One thing is for sure - John Marquis, will be the first name on the team sheet. He has not only scored two in his last two games but has also provided the winning goals in both of those matches.
James Coppinger and Tommy Rowe are two other players that are beginning to get exciting; they seem to have developed a good relationship in midfield and communicate well with each other. The more matches they play together, the bigger the threat they'll become.
Marko Marosi looks set for his third consecutive start for Rovers. In his last two games he's kept two clean sheets, albeit he hasn't had too much to do, but he's done his job when required, and with more match game experience, he will improve - hopefully! However, Marosi may lose his place if Darren Ferguson signs an 'experienced' goalkeeper before Saturday, as he's mentioned in one of his interviews of late.
For the first time in a while our starting eleven picks itself, but the only issue there could be is that, due to injures, we don't have a very experienced bench for back-up. However if a youth player is needed to come on then they might play with no pressure and be just as good as any other experienced player.
Yeovil, similar to Doncaster, have had an inconsistent start; losing two, drawing one and winning one. They've also scored exactly the same amount as goals as we have too, so it could be an exciting match to watch. Rovers have had the most shots in the EFL so far this year, so hopefully we can begin to convert those chances into more goals.
Doncaster have faced Yeovil Town 14 times in the past 13 years, winning 4. The 4 matches we have won have been in more recent years, and the last time they came to the Keepmoat we won 3-0, with goals from Natahan Tyson, Dean Furman and Kyle Bennett; so who knows - could we repeat that scoreline from early 2015?
Predicted lineup v Yeovil Town
Marosi; Lund, Butler, Wright, Evina; Blair, Rowe, Coppinger, Houghton; Marquis and Williams.
by The Rovers Review
After a deserving 1-0 win at the Keepmoat on Tuesday night against Cambridge United, Rovers look to get some momentum going, by earning a second consecutive victory v Cheltenham this Saturday. Not a lot went wrong for Rovers on Tuesday, so it's hard to pick areas for them to improve on, but one for sure is how clinical we are the box. The amount of shots we had on goal (and shots that realistically we should've taken), we should've arguably won by more than one goal. If we can make sure that we are clinical in the box, and perform like we did on Tuesday night, then I for one will be even more optimistic for the rest of the season - but it's all down to consistency now.
Ferguson still has the same dilemma to face regarding goalkeepers, after rotating Marosi and Etheridge for the past four games, but I think he'll stick with Marosi for this game, as he said that he wants to take Etheridge out of the firing line for a while. I do think Marosi is worth a shot for the next game, because he's kept a clean sheet and has been at the club for just over 2 years. Ferguson also switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 when we earned our first three points of the season, so I would like to think he'll stick with the 4-4-2, because it was the best that we've played so far this season, and with Blair and Evina charging down the wings, we looked like a massive threat!
Last time we faced Cheltenham was in 2008/09 season when we beat them 3-0 in the FA cup, and last time we faced them in the league they beat us 2-1 just a year prior to the FA cup victory, so I hope that we have more of the result like we had in the FA cup this time round. Cheltenham have also had a very good start this season, since their return to the football league, under a very good manager in, Gary Johnson. They can't be taken lightly, and it's going to be a tough match, because they'll still have the momentum from promotion. They're also undefeated in their first three games of season, drawing all three of them, so hopefully we can be the team to give them their first loss of the season!
Predicted lineup v Cheltenham
Marosi; Lund, Wright, Butler, Evina; Blair, Houghton, Coppinger, Rowe; Marquis and Williams.
by The Rovers Review
After a deflating draw on Saturday, Darren Ferguson looks to motivate his players up for a quick turnaround, for the visit of Shaun Derrys', Cambridge United. Doncaster last faced Cambridge in the FA cup in December 2015, in a 3-1 victory, which saw Fergusons' team through to the third round. Goals from Mitchell Lund and a double from Conor Grant helped Rovers on their way, but without Conor Grant this time round, who could help us with the goals this time? John Marquis has come very close in last few games, and I would hope that on a Tuesday night under the floodlights, that Marquis will shine, and finally get his goal that he deserves.
Andy Williams may lose his place, after Ferguson seems to be losing patience with the 30 year-old, after he missed two game-changing shots on Saturday, and Liam Mandeville could be the guy to step in his place. Mandeville has come on as a substitute during the last three games for Rovers, and has impressed on each occasion, even scoring a goal, so could this be the time for the 19 year-old to shine - I hope so! Riccardo Calder doesn't look good enough playing at LWB, so I'd favour someone, such as Cedric Evina to take his place for this game.
Darren Ferguson will also have a dilemma for his back 3 or 4, because on-loan defender, Niall Mason, has been ruled out for the match, after picking up an injury during Saturday's match, but youngster, Tyler Garrett could be his replacement after a good performance in last two games that he has been brought on.
Ferguson has confirmed that McSheffrey and Baudry are out for at least another three or four games, but didn't mention Keegan, which could indicate he could be on the verge of a return, so one silver lining to our form at the moment, is that we're very close to getting our squad fit again.
I really hope that we can pull of a victory here on Tuesday night, because I believe once we get that first win the confidence will come, and that we could go on a very good run, but we need to get the win first!
Predicted lineup v Cambridge:
Etheridge; Wright, Butler, Garrett; Blair, Coppinger, Rowe, Houghton, Evina; Marquis and Williams.
by The Rovers Review
After two defeats in a row, Rovers look to get back on track as they host their first home league game of the 2016/17 campaign against Crawley. This is the best opportunity for Ferguson, and the players to set the standard for this season, because Crawley are a standard league two side, who are going to be similar to most of the oppositions that we'll be facing this season.
I look forward to seeing what line-up Ferguson goes for, because obviously he has Wright and Middleton now back to match fitness, and may have Paul Keegan on the bench. Joe Wright has now made two appearances for the club, and has impressed on both occasions, and he even won man of the match on Tuesday vs Nottingham Forest, so I expect that he'll be one of the first names on the team sheet.
It will be interesting to see what formation he goes with too, because he has received a bit of stick for his usual 3-5-2 system, but I understand he has used that, because of injuries, but now like I say, with players coming back I think it should be about time he reverts to his 4-4-2 diamond formation - but I personally think he will stick with the 3-5-2.
Liam Mandeville is another player who will be giving Ferguson a headache, because he came on as a substitute during the cup game vs Nottingham Forest, and scored the equaliser to bring Rovers back into the game, but who would Fergie take out of the squad attacking wise?
The debate will also continue into this match; whether Ferguson should chose Etheridge or Marosi to go in goal. Marosi impressed on Tuesday night, and with Etheridge having a poor performance on Saturday I really wouldn't want to be in Ferguson's position, because I'm torn between who I'd like to see in goal. Personally, I think Etheridge deserves another chance, because people do have off days, but at the same time I think Marosi deserves a chance after how patient he has been over recent years!
Not only do we need three points from this game, but we need to make sure that we stop conceding both early and late in the game, and that we tighten up a lot more, and stop getting un-done on the counter.
Last time Doncaster faced Crawley, was in February 2015, in league one, where Paul Dickov over saw a thrilling 5-0 victory for Rovers; which has been our biggest victory since. I sincerely hope that we have a similar result this Saturday, or the pressure is going to be growing even greater on Darren Ferguson!
Predicted lineup vs Crawley
Etheridge; Mason, Butler, Wright; Blair, Houghton, Rowe, Middleton, Calder; Marquis and Williams.