BIG MATCH PREVIEW - DONCASTER ROVERS (1/11/14)
After spending 4 years in the Championship between 2008 and 2012, Rovers were relegated back to League One in 2012 after finishing bottom of the Championship but recovered excellently to win the League One title in 2012-13 after a dramatic final day showdown with Brentford at Griffin Park. Donny only lasted a season back in the Championship this time despite going down on goal difference on the final day. Rovers may not be clear promotion favourites this time round but most fans will have hoped to be anticipating a play-off push come the latter stages of the season.
Ins and Outs
Player turnaround was going to be obvious following relegation and after seeing various players depart to stay in the Championship, Rovers of course made a number of signings to replace the departed players. James Husband moved to Middlesbrough for an undisclosed fee, and last season’s top scorer Chris Brown moved to Blackburn Rovers. Dave Cotterill and Mark Duffy both moved to Birmingham City with Gabriel Tamas also opting to stay in the second tier by signing for Watford. Ross Turnbull and Billy Paynter were shown the door, signing for Barnsley and Carlisle United respectively and Abdoulaye Meite moved to Greek Super League side OFI Kreta.
Sam Johnstone, who spent time on loan with the club last season, was recently re-signed on a loan deal from Manchester United as a replacement for Aston Villa loanee Jed Steer who returned to Villa Park earlier in the week. Centre half Andy Butler was also recently signed on loan from Sheffield United recently. Cedric Evina and Recce Wabara were brought in during the summer to bolster the defensive ranks with strike duo Curtis Main and Nathan Tyson brought in from Middlesbrough and Blackpool respectively.
Current League Position
Doncaster are currently 20th in League One ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, only one point above the drop zone, though they have 2 games in hand on the vast majority of teams in the division at this stage and a couple of wins look like it would take them into the top half of the table.
The Bantams are likely to be without Gary Liddle for this one after picking up a hamstring strain during the week, though Andrew Davies will be welcomed back should he come through half a week’s training fit enough to take part in this one. Rory McArdle will serve his one match suspension after he was sent off last weekend at Oldham for a second bookable offence and will therefore be unavailable for selection.
The only injury worry on Doncaster’s behalf is Rob Jones, who is still out injured and won’t be fit for the weekend’s game. Sam Johnstone has been drafted in on loan from Manchester United and is likely to make his debut between the sticks on Saturday afternoon. James Coppinger has recently returned to training and may be available for selection this weekend.
Last Meetings with Doncaster Rovers:
The last time the two sides met was back in September 2007 at the start of the McCall era, City fielded a weakened side for the 1st round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy which resulted in a fine and Doncaster, holders of the trophy at the time, ran out overwhelming 5-1 winners at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The last league fixture between the two sides resulted in a narrow victory for Doncaster at Valley Parade in December 2006. Paul Heffernan volleyed into the far corner after connecting with James O’Connor’s cross on 14 minutes. Dean Windass and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson went close for City but Rovers held on for all three points.
Doncaster Rovers’ Recent Form
25/10/14 | Doncaster Rovers 0-0 MK Dons | League One | D
21/10/14 | Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Leyton Orient | League One | L
18/10/14 | Fleetwood Town 3-1 Doncaster Rovers | League One | L
07/10/14 | Burton Albion 0-3 Doncaster Rovers | Johnstone’s Paint Trophy | W
04/10/14 | Scunthorpe United 1-2 Doncaster Rovers | League One | W
Doncaster’s top goal scorer this season so far with 5 goals, although Tyson has travelled around a fair bit in his career, he has a good pedigree and has spent plenty of time in the Championship. He began his career with Reading in 1999 after coming through the youth system but failed to gain a regular place in the team and spent time out on loan with Maidenhead United, Swansea City, Cheltenham Town and Wycombe Wanderers before moving to the latter on a permanent basis in 2004. He spent 2 years at Adams Park and scored 39 goals in 68 league appearances before sealing a 2006 move to Nottingham Forest. During 5 years at The City Ground, Tyson scored 33 goals in 176 league appearances before a 2011 move to Derby County. He made only 39 league appearances (5 goals) before a brief move to Blackpool. Tyson had brief stints at Fleetwood Town and Notts County on loan before his release by Blackpool; he moved to Doncaster Rovers on a free transfer in the summer.
Ref Watch – Kevin Wright
Kevin Wright, who is from Cambridgeshire, has refereed 11 games so far this season; his latest of which Walsall’s 1-0 home victory against Chesterfield last weekend. The last Bradford match he refereed was in January 2011 at Gresty Road as Crewe ran out 2-1 winners against The Bantams, despite Clayton Donaldson’s dismissal early in the second half.
Sky Bet’s odds for the game are as follows, with them having City as outstanding favourites for the match. However the draw is down as the most unlikely outcome for the match.
Bradford – 13/10
Draw – 23/10
Doncaster – 21/10