A second home game of pre-season and a second win for the Rovers as they defeated Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium this afternoon. It feels odd that in a game between these two sides that scoreline should be taken as matching the divisional status quo, but that is indeed the case. Championship Doncaster Rovers rounding off the pre-season fixture programme with victory over lowly League One Sheffield Wednesday. Things are good.
As you may have guessed from that vague and non-specific intro we weren’t at the game on Saturday, and we’re not about to belittle you or belay your faith in this site by pretending we were. Not until the season anyroad. But, by all accounts Rovers did enough to secure victory without fully exerting themselves, Jamie Coppinger’s 37th minute goal the difference between the sides. We’re told it was a good strike, indeed Tony Bluff on the official site describes it as being hit “from an oblique angle”, which without reaching for my petractor I believe to mean he somehow curled it in from Row C of the away end.
Coppinger’s goal was just one of a number of decent chances created by a strong Rovers first-half line-up. Included in the starting XI was Mustapha Dumbaya, suggesting that his pre-season form may have pushed him into contention for a start on the opening day at Preston next Saturday. Alongside Dumbaya at the back was trialist Wayne Thomas who remains a clear target of Rovers, with the centre-half one of the few from the starting line-up to feature in both halves.
The second half saw a number of changes which indicated that Sean O’Driscoll was taking one last chance to reassess the options he has at his disposal this season as he tried Sam “der Kaiser” Hird at holding midfield behind close-season signing Josh Payne. Gary Woods took over from Neil Sullivan in goal for the second half and looks a capable deputy should the veteran find himself sidelined, whilst George Friend also returned to contention after missing recent pre-season friendlies through injury.
Also featuring in the second half were the two mystery Spanish trialists who have been with Rovers for a week or so, a time period in which they’ve earned enough aliases on the Rovers team-sheets to give Interpol a tough task should they ever take to a life of crime. Since the match O’Driscoll has made it clear that neither player has been offered a deal with the club, and that they were indeed told of this pre-match, but were happy to stay and play.
It would have been expected that the sight of Paul Heffernan in a Sheffield Wednesday shirt would have been the talking point of this game, but instead it was another ex-Rover grabbing the attention. Spotted in the stands, despite the fact that his own club were in action elsewhere, was one Michael McIndoe adding fuel to the fire at a rate of gallons to the rumours circling that we could be in for the Return of the Mac. Personally I don’t see it happening. As loved as he may be by the chairman I can’t see McIndoe offering anything in terms of ability or personality that would enamour him to Sean O’Driscoll. Don’t get me wrong, McIndoe was a great player for Rovers, one of the best we’ve seen in the past decade, but right now he would not bring anything to the Rovers side that they don’t already have.
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1): Neil Sullivan (Gary Woods); Mustapha Dumbaya (George Friend), Shelton Martis (Adam Lockwood), Wayne Thomas (trialist), James O’Connor; Brian Stock (Josh Payne), Simon Gillett (Sam Hird), Martin Woods (Dean Shiels); Jamie Coppinger (trialist), James Hayter (trialist); Billy Sharp (Steve Brooker)
Sheffield Wednesday line-up (4-4-2): Richard O’Donnell (Aaron Jameson); Jon Ostemobor, Darren Purse, Lewis Buxton, Tommy Spurr (Daniel Jones); Jermaine Johnson (Liam Palmer), Giles Coke, Darren Potter (James O’Connor), Gary Teale (Chris Sedgwick); Marcus Tudgay (Neil Mellor), Paul Heffernan (Clinton Morrison)