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Opposition watch: Doncaster Rovers

Posted: Tue 08 Apr 2014
Author: Theo Squires

The low-down on Tuesday's opponents from the Keepmoat Stadium

After dramatically winning promotion to the Championship as League One champions last year, Doncaster Rovers will be eager to rake up the points in the final weeks of the season as they look to avoid making an immediate return to the third tier of English football.

Currently placed 19th in the Sky Bet Championship league table, seven points clear of the relegation zone with six games remaining, Rovers’ survival is yet to be confirmed ahead of a testing final run-in.

Trips to Ipswich Town, Reading and Premier League-bound Leicester City await Doncaster, while they also have to host promotion-chasing Derby County and fellow strugglers Millwall before the end of the season.

The team’s home form in particular however has been crucial to keeping them clear of the drop zone in recent weeks. Before last weekend, Dickov’s side had gone eight league matches without defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium, with their last home reversal coming against Ipswich Town on Boxing Day.

However, Saturday’s defeat to Birmingham City, a side also fighting for their status as a Championship club, threw Doncaster right back into the relegation mix.

Eager to bounce back against Wanderers, Dickov will hope their loss against the Blues will prove to be just a blip as they look increase the gap between themselves and the bottom three.

With limited clashes between the two sides, Doncaster have tasted victory against Bolton just three times in the club’s history – all three coming back in the 80s.

In contrast the Whites have won six, including both meetings since the start of the 21st century without even conceding a goal, while there has only ever been one stalemate between the two sides.

Wanderers were actually the first ever side to inflict defeat on Doncaster at their Keepmoat Stadium home, when goals from Kevin Davies, Idan Tal and an Andranik Teymourian brace secured a 4-0 FA Cup third round win in January 2007.

Joe Mason, Andre Moritz and Neil Danns were on the scoresheet the last time the two sides met back in December when Dougie Freedman’s side ran out 3-0 winners.

One man the Whites back-line will need to be wary of if they are to keep up their recent good form against Doncaster is Southampton loanee Billy Sharp.

Since returning to the Keepmoat Stadium on loan in January, the forward has found the back of the net four times in 11 appearances and remains one of the Championship’s most feared marksmen.

At the other end of the field goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has performed admirably since joining on loan from Manchester United, while Australian international Lucas Neill has added some much needed experience to Doncaster’s defence.

With three points a must for both sides, Tuesday night’s clash under the Keepmoat Stadium floodlights has all the makings of a classic.