Has anyone else noticed that we appear to have been pigeon-holed already by BBC’s Championship coverage? Every time a BBC commentator or summariser mentions Rovers they seem to be contractually obliged to incorporate the sentence “Doncaster had problems finding the net at home last season,” or some such variant upon this. For this reason of tedium if none other I sincerely hope Rovers find the net tonight against Coventry.
The Sky Blues arrive in Doncaster tonight as the Championship’s top club and the only side to have notched a 100% league record just two games into the season. But, there are signs that they remain vulnerable as their league wins – 2-1 over Ipswich and 2-0 at Barnsley respectively – bookend a disappointing Carling Cup exit at the hands of Hartlepool United. Albeit a younger less experienced side to that Rovers are to face tonight were beaten 1-0 by ‘Pool at the Ricoh Stadium last Wednesday.
That Coventry lead the way in the Championship is something of a surprise. They may have brought in an established winger in the form of Michael McIndoe but they have lost two of their key assets from a side that struggled in the league last season with both Scott Dann and Daniel Fox departing in the summer. However, Chris Coleman is an accomplished manager and the club has brought through a number of youth products in recent years. According to the Coventry City website though Coleman has an odd perception of what to expect from Rovers; “We know how tough a game this is going to be because Doncaster are a very good passing team and very physical” he stated, the latter statement one which is rarely used to describe a Donny side viewed by their own fans as lightweight.
The late arrival of Jason Shackell certainly confused us here at Viva Towers on Saturday as his loan move to the Rovers was announced after I had set off for the match and as such his inclusion in the starting eleven was a surprise. Given his all round performance on Saturday Shackell can probably expect to keep his place tonight alongside Adam Lockwood who is thus far enjoying an excellent season.
Steve Brooker, Sean McDaid and Jos Van Nieuwstadt all remain absent as Tuuesday night is Board Game night in the Rovers’ treatment room, and Van Nieuwstadt won’t let his Connect 4 crown go easily. James O’Connor is also reported as doubtful by the BBC and as such James Chambers and Gareth Roberts will be expected to retain their respective full-back places. John Oster impressed after coming on against Preston at the weekend, and as such could be brought into the starting line-up with John Spicer being the person likely to give way.
Coventry will be without Freddie Eastwood who is reportedly struggling with an illness and so won’t be making the long pony trek north. The Sky Blues also have injury concerns with Martin Craine, Leon Best and Clinton Morrison, but according to the BBC all three are expected to be fit and available. Also likely to feature for Coventry is former Rover Michael McIndoe; the winger had a torrid time at the Keepmoat Stadium last season with Bristol City and Rovers fans will be hoping tonight brings him just as much joy.
Predicted Rovers line-up
(4-3-1-2): Neil Sullivan; James Chambers, Adam Lockwood, Jason Shackell, Gareth Roberts; John Oster, Brian Stock, Martin Woods; Jamie Coppinger; James Hayter, Paul Heffernan
subs: Ben Smith, James O’Connor, Sam Hird, Mark Wilson, Quinton Fortune, John Spicer, Dean Shiels
Any Coventry City fans making their first visit to the Keepmoat Stadium can find a wealth of information on the new ground, including where to park, how to get there on foot and by car, and where to grab a pre-match drink in the Keepmoat Stadium section of this website.
Following the Game from Afar
Brace yourself for some bad news; I’m afraid we are not able to offer our match ‘Twitter Updates’ for this fixture, so it’ll be a case of gluing yourself to the radio or the internet. The BBC website offers ‘live text’ commentary which is a brief summary of the game refreshed every couple of minutes. Alternatively there will be coverage on BBC Radio Sheffield although I suspect Sheffield United v Leicester will get the full coverage treatment.