Dust off your Miners Strike related abuse, its time to host Nottingham Forest at the Keepmoat Stadium. The Viva Rovers wing of the West Stand normally has a quick sweepstake at these fixtures on the time of the first ‘Scab’ based chant, and its yet to occur beyond kick-off. If there’s anything you can rely on football fans for it is of course their short memories and forgiving nature.
Thankfully for us, since Rovers and Forest have been entwined in the same divisions, it is we who have enjoyed the better of the fixtures. Last season’s 4-1 defeat at the City Ground was something of an anomaly, it being the first win for Forest in these head-to-heads since Boxing Day 2005. In South Yorkshire in particular its been a profitable fixture, with a number of notable and enjoyable 1-0 wins for Rovers, including that glorious last game at Belle Vue. Indeed not since 1956 have the Tricky Trees returned from Doncaster victorious. Such is our natural pessimism we see this more of a sign that they’re due one than of likely home superiority.
The Keepmoat Stadium is not really what you would call a fortress, but Rovers are becoming hard to beat there once more. Not since West Brom’s promotion party early last April have Rovers lost on home turf so statistically things aren’t looking all that ominous for Forest today. Its the sort of confidence boost Rovers could do with as they come into this fixture of the back of two great performances, but disappointingly two defeats. Those results have seen Doncaster drop from a giddy fourth to an arguably more natural 14th, but then this is the Championship and a win today could catapult Donny back into the vicinity of the play-off places.
Though only goal difference separates Rovers and Forest at the moment that does not quite tell the whole story with the Tricky Trees having been beaten just once in the league, away at Burnley on the opening day. The problem for Forest has been turning an undefeated run into a winning one, with six of their eight games since that trip to Turf Moor ending level. But then with Billy Davies in charge such a frustrating run of games couldn’t happen to a nicer man. And by nicer, we of course mean incredibly irritating.
If Byron Webster is ever in need of reassurance of his footballing standing then he need only check out a BBC website preview of a Doncaster Rovers match. Despite the fact that he’s hardly featured since joining the club last season he’s always mentioned in their previews, him and his “long-term foot injury”. He’s over it now mind, and will be in the squad today as fellow centre halves Wayne Thomas and Shelton Martis are ruled out, the latter having hobbled off at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday. James Chambers also remains sidelined, or more likely stadium-seated, meaning that everyone’s favourite player Mustapha Dumbuya should retake his place in the starting eleven.
Nottingham Forest will be without tiny Welsh striker Rob Earnshaw as he remains ruled out with a thigh injury, those somersaults having finally caught up with him. Earnie is, however, reported to be the only member of Billy Davies’ squad unavailable for selection.
Predicted Doncaster Rovers line-up
(4-2-2-1-1) Neil Sullivan; Mustapha Dumbuya, James O’Connor, Sam Hird, George Friend; Brian Stock, John Oster; Simon Gillett, Martin Woods; Jamie Coppinger; Billy Sharp
subs: Gary Woods, Adam Lockwood, Byron Webster, Mark Wilson, Dean Shiels, Waide Fairhurst, James Hayter
Travelling to the Game
Most Forest fans are probably familiar with the Keepmoat Stadium by now having visited three times before. However, for the unitiated everything you could possibly want to know ca be found in our very own guide to the Keepmoat Stadium. You’ll find all this info, from where to pick your tickets up, how to get there, and where you can grab a pre-match drink under the ‘Keepmoat Stadium’ tab at the top of the page because us Yorkshire-folk are matter of fact like that.
Good news people, for the second game in a week Viva Rovers’ patented live match twitter coverage will be up and running. Throughout this game we will be using our Twitter account to bring you live updates from the Keepmoat Stadium in bursts of 140 characters or fewer. To keep up with the action existing Twitter users should make sure they’re following @vivarovers or checking out the #drfc hashtag. If you don’t wish to join Twitter then you can access the same tweets here during the game though you will need to refresh the page fairly regularly.
Live commentary is, as ever, available for this game via the official club website’s Rovers Player service. You do have to subscribe and pay for the service, but the commentary from the hardest working press officer in show business, Chris Mortley, should be worth the expenditure. He was joined by Paul Mayfield last Saturday so innuendo fans should keep their fingers crossed that Paul is back in the summariser’s chair today to give you one. Radio wise expect updates and possible live coverage from BBC Radio Sheffield and Nottingham if you’re in either of those areas. Alternatively you’ll be able to keep up with all the match information online via the BBC Live Text service on the web or via their Score Interactive programme via the red button. Caution, this programme features Garth Crooks.