nPower League 1
Saturday 22nd September
The Keepmoat Stadium, Stadium Way, Doncaster, DN4 5JW
Kick Off: 3pm
Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny, 14°c
Referee: P Gibbs (West Midlands)
Stevenage reacquaint themselves with Doncaster Rovers for the first time in nearly a decade this weekend as Gary Smith’s second placed team makes the trip up north to The Keepmoat Stadium this Saturday. Sitting in their highest ever league position in the club’s history, Boro will be keen to make it four successive league wins on the road and extend their unbeaten run to eight games. Meanwhile Doncaster, who suffered relegation from the Championship last season, have made a steady if unspectacular start to a campaign which many fans expect to end in promotion. Certainly their squad, which contains such names as Neil Sullivan, James Harper, Iain Hume and Robbie Blake, has masses of experience however it will interesting to see how they, under the leadership of manager Dean Saunders, cope with this expectation during the season.
Last time we met:
Doncaster Rovers took all three points with a thrilling 3-2 win at Broadhall Way back in April 2003. Dino Maamria gave Boro the lead on two minutes when he lobbed Stuart Nelson from 20 yards after a failed clearance from Mark Albrighton and Simon Wormull then doubled the advantage on 36 minutes with a free-kick. Francis Tierney reduced the deficit on the hour with a curling shot and Tristram Whitman hit the equaliser with an equally brilliant curling effort with just nine minutes remaining. Deflated, Boro held on for what looked like a point until striker Paul Barnes prodded home a Tierney free-kick in the third minute of injury time to complete an unlikely turnaround for Doncaster.
Boro: Westhead, Travis, Goodliffe, Laker, Warner, Wormull, Watson, Carroll, Cook (Holloway), Elding, Maamria (Richards)
Subs not used: Perez, MacDonald, Fraser
Doncaster are likely to stick with a similar side to that which has picked up four points from their last two fixtures. Striker Billy Paynter is expected to play some part after recovering from a calf injury but Neil Sullivan is doubtful with a hand injury.
Stevenage have doubts over Darius Charles, Filipe Morais and Robbie Rogers for this game after recent injuries, so Gary Smith is unlikely to make too many changes from the side which won against Walsall. Marcus Haber could come in up front for Patrick Agyemang.
The Doncaster Scout Report
Doncaster currently sit in 10th place in League 1 after picking up 10 points from their first six games. Things looked encouraging for Rovers early on with wins over Walsall (3-0) and Bury (2-1) however successive defeats to Crawley (0-1) and Yeovil (1-2) would have quickly brought fans dreaming of an easy season back down to earth. They did recover to beat Colchester 2-1 before securing a point with a goalless draw at Sheffield United earlier in the week.
Possible Doncaster line-up for Saturday (4-4-2 formation)
Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones, Tommy Spurr; David Cotterill, David Syers, Martin Woods, Kyle Bennett; Chris Brown, Billy Paynter
Subs from: James Harper, Robbie Blake, James Husband, Shelton Martis, Ian Hume, Jonathan Maxted, Paul Keegan
Striker Chris Brown has three goals to his name so far this season after notching in wins over Walsall (3-0), Bury (2-1) and the Capital One Cup penalty victory against York City after the game finished 1-1. The 27-year old Doncaster-born player is in his second spell at the club having notched 10 goals in 17 starts in 2003/04 during a loan spell from parent club Sunderland. Unsuccessful spells then followed at Norwich and Preston before he returned to Doncaster last season as they were eventually relegated to League 1.
• Doncaster were involved in the longest ever football match, against Stockport County on 30th March 1946. The second-leg of a Division Three (North) cup tie was tied at 2-2 after extra time so the referee decided to carry on until someone scored. After 203 minutes the game was finally stopped. Rovers won the replay 4-0.
• The late Billy Bremner managed Doncaster twice, his final spell ending in November 1991, six years before his death.
• Magician Paul Daniels and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson are both said to support Doncaster Rovers.
• The referee for this game will be Phil Gibbs from the West Midlands. The last Boro game he took charge of was the 3-0 defeat at Tranmere back in April.
• Should he play in this game then skipper Mark Roberts will be making his 200th appearance for the club.
• The next appearance for both Bondz N’Gala and Robbie Rogers will be their 5th for the club respectively.
• Appearances in this game for Marcus Haber, James Dunne, Lucas Akins, Greg Tansey will be their 10th for Stevenage.
• Robin Shroot’s next goal for Stevenage FC will be his 10th for the club.
Preview by Dave Toyn