As you’ve heard it all before I won’t bother with the now token preamble for this fixture. You know the score by now. How six years ago Rovers were non-league whilst Leeds were in a Champions League semi-final. How much of Leeds fan base resides at a DN postcode. The fact of the matter is, this is a league match… the playing field is now level. Many Leeds fans not like it but the reality is this; it’s a League One Yorkshire derby.
When Rovers made the trip to Elland Road back in January the matchday programme carried somewhat pedantically ‘the real league table’ that had Leeds sitting points ahead at the top. Were that same table to be printed today Leeds would be just a point ahead of the Rovers; for all their supporters’ posturing in early season there really is little between Leeds and Doncaster, and after Rovers 1-0 win in West Yorkshire the safer bets are those going on a Rovers win.
Rovers enter tonight’s game with confidence high despite registering just one win in the last four games. Friday night’s 1-0 win over Forest set a precedent for performance and tempo that Sean O’Driscoll and the fans will be keen to see repeated. With Carlisle also in action tonight against fifth placed Forest Rovers could finish the day back in second place if all goes well.
Leeds enter tonight’s match with a slightly better record of late having followed up a disappointing draw at bottom side Port Vale with a win over play-off chasing Walsall and more recently a draw with in-form Brighton at Elland Road on Saturday. However, the after effects of that game could hamper United as they look set to travel south without David Prutton who picked up a foot injury against the Seagulls, and also Rui Marques who is out with a hamstring injury. Bradley Johnson also picked up a knock against Brighton, but the midfielder is expected to shake it off in time for tonight’s match.
Sean O’Driscoll is expected to start with the same side that began Friday night’s encounter with Forest; keeping faith with Paul Heffernan and Jason Price despite some wayward finishing from the pair at the weekend. The only possible injury doubt, other than long term absentees Mark Wilson and Gordon Greer, is Matt Mills who has a heel injury but is still expected to play with the aid of a pain-killing injection.
With Rovers twelve points ahead of seventh place Brighton, but just three points behind second place Carlisle it will be interesting to see how O’Driscoll and his side react should the match be level late on; will they make the extra push for the win or simply secure the draw? A full house will be present at the Keepmoat Stadium to see it; here’s hoping they won’t leave disappointed.