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by The Rovers Review

Doncaster Rovers return to action after an extended break to face a Gillingham side who have lost their last three games.

Darren Ferguson is feeling confident ahead of the trip to the Gills, but thinks Rovers need to be wary of a reaction from the opposition,

“Well when the manager Steve went in they went on a hell of a run and did fantastically well, they were probably looking at the play-offs themselves at one point. But then they’ve slipped away a little but, they’ve lost their last three games and a heavy defeat to Southend will have hurt them because they took a lot of fans there.

“What we’ve managed to do is we’ve not suffered too many back-to-back defeats which is important, we’re now on the back-to-back wins after Bradford and Blackpool and we’re going into a game on Saturday that’s winnable but again it’s going to be tough because you would imagine that given what happened to Gillingham last time at Southend, they’ll be a reaction there.

“They’re a good team and they’ve got real threats and real obvious ones that we’ve gone through today on the training ground – it’s a tough place to go and one thing we’ve got at the moment is that we seem to be playing quite well and looking fairly solid and the players are playing with confidence.”

Rovers will be boosted by the return of Andy Butler and Andy Boyle to the side after their recoveries from injury. Tom Anderson will narrowly miss out on the game as he’s scheduled to be fit for action for the MK Dons game next week.

Alex Kiwomya will also be available after his battle with a short illness which meant he missed the victory at Blackpool.

Gillingham’s home form isn’t too strong as they’ve collected 4 wins from 18 home games, while Rovers have only 5 of their 20 away games so far this season. The Gills’ home form is consequently the worst in League One with them picking up 21 points from a possible 54.

Although they have the worst home record it will still be a test for Rovers who haven’t won at MEMs Priestfield stadium since January 2007.

Both sides do boast quite a good defensive record in the league with Rovers fourth best, conceding just 45 goals in 38 games – only Wigan (25), Shrewsbury (33) and Blackburn (36) have shipped less goals. Gillingham have the 7th best defensive record conceding 47 goals in 39 games.

The last time both sides faced each other was on the opening day of the season where it ended goalless. Ady Pennock was in charge for that game but was later sacked and replaced by current manager Steve Lovell.
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by The Rovers Review

Doncaster Rovers entertain League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon at the Keepmoat today.

Darren Ferguson feels that his side need to keep their energy levels high against a competitive Wimbledon who are fighting for survival.

“We were really poor down there, it was a strange performance. We were way off the mark and it was one of the poorest I felt in terms of what we’re about, it wasn’t anywhere near the energy we’re about, so we need to get that right,” Ferguson begun.

“I feel they’ve got good experience, Trotter and Abdu in the middle of the park, if it is them, they're very experienced players. Taylor up front, he’s one of the better strikers in the league, he’s a real handful. Forrester could play, we know all about him, he’s a good footballer and they’ve got good width in their team.

“Each teams gonna carry a threat and we’ve got to try and exploit the weaknesses but the good thing for us is we’re confident and know we’ve got to keep our standards up and making sure the mentalities right.”

Andy Butler had to watch Friday afternoons win from the stands as he narrowly missed out on a place in the team to Andy Boyle. Ferguson admits we may not see him return until the Gillingham game.

Alex Kiwomya was another noticeable absentee from the 2-1 win at Blackpool; the 21-year-old missed the victory through an illness but should come back into contention for Monday afternoon.

Wimbledon come to the Keepmoat with one of the worst away forms in the league as they collect on average 0.9 points-per-game away from home, while Rovers get 1.56 points-per-game at home.

Only 18 of 37 Dons goals scored this season have come away from home, which may be a relieve to know for Marko Marosi. At the other end of the pitch, they’ve conceded 25 of their 50 goals conceded in total this season away from home.

Rovers will want to bury memories of the last game as it was dubbed Rovers’ current worst game of the season after losing 2-0.

This will be the sides’ only second meeting ever since The Dons reformed as AFC Wimbledon in 2002.
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by The Rovers Review

Darren Ferguson is looking forward to taking on local rivals Bradford City under the flood-lights on Monday evening.

The Rovers manager is fancying his chances against an out-of-form Bradford City, who are without star-striker, Charlie Wyke,

“They went through a hell of a bad run in the league, they had to let club legend Stuart [McCall] go and bring in Simon [Grayson] who’s got fantastic experience and a lot of success in League One, but he has to hit the ground running because he’s only got until the end of the season.
 “I went to the game last night and it was a very close game, Wigan won it in the last minute, but they’ve got a competitive team and blend of experience and youth. Obviously, you would say the main striker in terms of threat, he won’t be playing - Wyke - because he’s suspended.
“A bit of a derby, they’ll bring good support – a game I’m looking forward to and as are the players."

Alfie Beestin has made a shock return to training after recovering from his injury quicker than first anticipated, meanwhile, Craig Alcock and Andy Boyle come into contention for Monday's game.

Defender Mathieu Baudry felt a tight hamstring after the draw at Southend, but Ferguson confirmed the Frenchman is fine and Andy Butler is on course to return to action for Rovers' game after Bradford, Blackpool.

Rovers remain 7 points behind their Yorkshire counterparts as Bradford come into the game with the joint poorest run of form with Fleetwood - who Rovers beat 3-0 the last time at the Keepmoat - after the Bantams have collected 2 points from 8 games.

Despite this stat, Bradford does hold good away form as they've picked up 1.67 points-per-game on average away from Valley Parade, which sees them lay 5th in the away form table in League One, while at home, Rovers have picked up 1.46 points-per-game.

In the last encounter between these two sides it finished 2-0 to Bradford, and their last visit to the Keepmoat finished 1-0 to them in 2015, which was the first game after Darren Ferguson had been confirmed manager.

The last time Rovers did beat Bradford in the league was in November 2014, when Paul Dickov's side won 2-1 away from home.
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by The Rovers Review

Rovers this weekend come up against a resurgent Southend United under Chris Powell after a two-week break since their last game.

Darren Ferguson expects a tough game against a manager he respects and thinks is very organised,

“They’re a very improved team, Chris has gone in there and got them very organised, I’ve played against Chris’ teams quite a few times .
“They play off quite a solid formation, I don’t see that changing too much for Saturday, perhaps a change in personnel with the result last week against Walsall, but the first five games: four wins and a draw is a fantastic start!
“It will be a tough match, in terms of the pedigree experience-wise they’re the most experienced team and they have six players who have played in the Premiership. They know how to play in terms of their shape and their pitch is awful, so that’ll have to come into it, but I don’t think it’ll be a game for the purest."

In matters of team news, Rovers are handed a boost with Joe Wright, Mathieu Baudry, Andy Williams and Issam Ben Khemis who have all returned to training with some being available for selection this Saturday.

Defender Andy Butler, on the other hand, has suffered a setback which could keep him out for the next two games.

Southend has one of the best home forms in the league as they've picked up 32 out of a possible 54 points at Roots Hall. However, only 21 goals of their 54 scored this season has come at home whereas more than half of Rovers' 44 goals scored this season have has come on the road.

In the reverse fixture this season Rovers came out 4-1 victors at the Keepmoat, with a hat-trick in the space of ten minutes for Ben Whiteman after Anthony Wordsworth gave the Shrimpers the lead after the midfielder controversially kicked Jordan Houghton while he was down, but remained on the pitch.

Rovers' last trip to Roots Hall came on the 2nd January 2016 where they won 3-0 with goals from Andy Williams, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Nathan Tyson. Rovers are also on a six-game unbeaten run against Southend, with their last defeat coming in 2007 with a 3-2 scoreline.
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by The Rovers Review

Rovers head to local rivals Rotherham this Saturday aiming to earn back-to-back league wins for the first time this year.

Darren Ferguson has hyped up this week’s derby game against Rotherham as he relishes the atmosphere,
“I feel that the players who played on Saturday have earned the right to go again and I feel that their performances warrant another start. These are the ones where I wish I was playing again because honestly I would love to play on Saturday. Full-house, two-and-a-half thousand fans of ours, proper game, the early part will be blood and thunder.

“We know how important it is [the game]. They’re in a different position to ours because they’ve found a form that allows them to win games. It’s very effective the way they play and they’ve got six on the bounce. We’re obviously in the middle of the pack but looking to continue from last week but what it would do for us [a win] is give us great momentum and belief going into the last eleven games.”

There will be an assessment on Luke McCullough who picked up a knock during the win against Fleetwood Town but he’s expected to come through his test okay.

Ferguson himself has also confirmed that the 18 who featured in last Saturday’s win will be involved in the derby this weekend.

The last time these two local sides met was back at the Keepmoat in November which finished in a 1-1 draw following a late equaliser from Kieffer Moore – who has since left the club – following Richard Wood giving Rovers an early lead after an own goal.

This will be the first time Rovers have played at the New York Stadium, otherwise known as AESSEAL. The last time they visited Rotherham was in 2006 and it finished in a goalless draw.

Only one player remains in the side from that result 12 years ago and that is the veteran James Coppinger.
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