Chim chiminee, chim chiminee, chim chim cheroo… no matter how many other Yorkshire sides there may be in the Championship this season as far as we’re concerned here at Viva Towers, its Scunthorpe United who represent our most significant divisional rival. As such this away fixture at Glanford Park is as eagerly anticipated as it is frustratingly unattendable owing to its midday kick-off. Thanks Humberside Police… thanks a bunch.
In recent seasons the short hop down the M180 has been something of a frustration for Rovers. Last season of course things looked to be going well until the red mist descended on John Oster and Quinton Fortune and a lead with 11 men soon became a frustrating 2-2 draw with nine. And then there was the lowest point in the early months of Sean O’Driscoll’s reign as Doncaster slumped to a 2-0 defeat so lacklustre they failed to muster a single shot on target in the entire ninety minutes.
But with the lows there have been highs, there was Graeme Lee’s fantastic and equally unlikely last-minute dipping twenty yard volley to win the game in 2006 and my own personal favourite from two years earlier when Rovers found themselves a man down and two goals down with six minutes to go only to battle back and secure an incredible draw. A game which culminated in Leo Fortune-West’s injury time goal and a few seconds later with me laying on the seats two rows in front of my own with a pile of similarly extatic Rovers fans atop of me. Heady days.
As you would hope and expect, the away ticket allocation for this game has sold out which means their should be a fair old atmosphere inside Scunthorpe’s tin shed come tomorrow lunch-time. And if local hostilities were not enough to get thing flared up there is a notable common denominator on the field too in the form of one William Sharp. The Rovers forward didn’t renew many friendships at his former employers last season when he celebrated his headed goal with particular anger and should he score again in this fixture you can be sure he won’t be one for the Denis Law-esque calm stroll back to half-way.
Rovers are still without James Chambers and Wayne Thomas as the two continue their long-term absence through injury. Shelton Martis is also likely to be unavailable having not featured since he hobbled off at the Ricoh two and a half weeks ago. The rest of the squad is figting fit though meaning Sean O’Driscoll is likely to name an unchanged side from that which faced Notingham Forest ebfore the international break.
Scunthorpe United are likely to be without defender Jim McNulty, but do have a number of other players coming into contention. New signings Kevin MacDonald, on loan from Burnley and Paris Cowan-Hall could feature whilst Garry Thompson and defender Rob Jones are expected to return to the Irons line-up.
Predicted Doncaster Rovers line-up
(4-3-2-1) Neil Sullivan; Mustapha Dumbuya, James O’Connor, Adam Lockwood, George Friend; John Oster, Simon Gillett, Martin Woods; Jamie Coppinger, James Hayter; Billy Sharp
subs: Gary Woods, Sam Hird, Byron Webster Mark Wilson, Brian Stock, Dean Shiels, Waide Fairhurst
Travelling to the Game
You shouldn’ really need this segment for this game, but we’ll provide it anyway. Get on the M180 and follow signs for Scunthorpe, you’ll see what looks like a vast tin shed on your right. Thats the ground that is. Also, look out for police speed checks on the motorways en route the boys in bright yellow have a habit of hiding with their speed gun for this game.
If you’re going by train God help you, it’ll be a horrible experience. Oh and don’t stand up expecting to have arrived when you pass the football ground, you’ve a long way to go yet. If you make it off the train alive the ground is about a 35 minute walk from the station, simply turn left as you leave the station and then walk in a long straight line and you’ll get there eventually.
Sad news folks, yep Viva Rovers’ patented live match twitter coverage will not be operating during this fixture. No, no, don’t try and talk us into it, its simply not possible ok. However, you do have two options for live commentary of the game, coming both the official club website’s Rovers Player service and also via BBC Radio Sheffield who we belive are covering this one live. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pay for Chris Mortley’s commentary and don’t live in the South Yorkshire area you’ll be able to keep up with all the match information online via the BBC website’s Live Text service.