I used to go to college with someone who owned up to being a Doncaster Rovers fan. We obviously felt something in common, what with being from an area where our (relatively) small club was constantly overshadowed by the bigger ones around it (the Sheffields, before their fall from grace, and Leeds, before they crashed and burned). Since then, we have both had periods of glory on the Championship, but the start of a new season sees the old adversaries back in the third tier.
Of course, Doncaster has good and bad going for it, as witnessed by the people who come from there. Our own Andy Butler, good, Tony Christie, disastrous. Douglas Bader, English hero, Brian Blessed, Thomas Crapper, inventor of you-know-what, and the lovely (well, in the sixties she was) Diana Rigg, all good and completely outweighed by Jeremy Bloody Clarkson.
Dean Smith will have a full strength squad to choose from, with no injury worries at all, after the encouraging League Cup win against Brentford last Saturday. It’s difficult to see what changes, if any he’ll make to the starting line up. Of course, if he should sign a left back in time to play, then Taundry back over to the right and the new man on the left would be the obvious move, but that is looking unlikely at the moment. The only other change he might think about would be starting with Brandy, in place of either Grigg or Paterson, but I think he’ll keep it the same.
As for Doncaster, they have no fresh injury worries.
Defender Paul Quinn is fit after suffering cramp in the League Cup tie against York City last weekend.
Rovers boss Dean Saunders will also welcome new signings James McCombe, Billy Paynter and James Harper to the squad. They will provide much needed reinforcements, as the club’s policy of bringing in high profile players to try and stave off relegation meant a huge turn over in the Summer. Their other ins and outs are:
Players in: David Syers (Bradford, free), David Cotterill (Barnsley, free), Robbie Blake (Bolton, free), Rob Jones (Sheffield Wednesday, free)
Players out: Sam Hird (Chesterfield, free), James Hayter (Yeovil, free), Adam Lockwood (Bury, free), El-Hadji Diouf, Pascal Chimbonda, Simon Gillett, John Oster, Fabien Robert, Giles Barnes, Oscar Radford and Habib Beye (all released), George Friend (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), James O’Connor (Derby, undisclosed), James Baxendale (Walsall, free)
Two sides, one with a reputation for playing football and one, on the strength of last week, looking to do the same thing, means that this could be a very good game. I think home advantage gives us the edge, so home win.
Dont forget, by the way, that members of the Supporters’ Trust will be around the ground, looking for renewals and new members, so bring a couple of quid extra!