Despite Welsh roots and family ties I am still yet to visit the Liberty Stadium, and although I have a match ticket and a train ticket for this game, that sadly is not set to change. Perhaps ominously, my body is not about to let me set off for South Wales and I’ve been struck down by flu. On Rovers current form you may suggest this is no bad thing and indeed this could turn out to be a low budget remake of the Final Destination film series, as my late withdrawal enables me to watch the desperate defeat from a safe distance.
Instead, for another year at least, my only experience of football in Wales’ second city will have come at the Vetch Field (pictured above). Swansea’s old ground was the venue for one of the most entertaining away games I’ve ever seen as Rovers and the Swans, both chasing promotion, played out an epic 1-1 draw on a Friday night in March 2004. On a rain sodden, mud heavy pitch play swung from end to end with Stuart Roberts opener for City equalised by a Chris Brown goal in front of the Rovers supporters on the West Terrace. This game, was also the scene of the infamous Flag-gate affair when a Vetch steward refused to believe that the Doncaster emblazoned Welsh flag I had taken to the ground was not the property of Swansea City AFC. Crazy days.
Since the two sides have been reunited in the Championship, both clubs have drawn appreciation for the way in which they play the game. However it is the passing style of Swansea which has had the edge over its South Yorkshire equivalent. Rovers are yet to defeat the Swans in this current second tier stint, and indeed have come no closer to doing so than the meeting at the Keepmoat earlier this season. James Hayter’s first half strike levelled in injury time by Angel Rangel.
Had Rovers held out for victory in that fixture three months ago they would have moved to 5th in the Championship table. It all seems a world away now. After a chronic run of injuries and results Rovers come into this return fixture in 16th and off the back of their worst ever home League defeat. With on loan Jason Euell the only fit and available striker in the Rovers ranks its safe to say that returning from Wales with a point today will be just cause for celebration for what is currently a shadow of a Doncaster side.
Its getting to the point where it becomes quicker to list those who aren’t injured. Jason Euell was signed on loan on Thursday and will most likely come straight into the starting line-up, with all other forwards unavailable; Billy Sharp, Steve Brooker and James Hayter all injured and Waide Fairhurst on a unrecallable loan at Hereford.
In addition to the three listed above definitely sidelined are defenders Mustapha Dumbuya, James O’Connor, Adam Lockwood and Shelton Martis. James Chambers will face a late fitness test too though he is not expected to pass it. Neil Sullivan is fit again and will most likely start, as hopefully will be Brian Stock.
Swansea City are likely to bring Welsh full-back Neil Taylor back into their starting line-up for this match at the expense of Ashley Richards. Centre-back Garry Monk and midfielder Andrea Orlandi will remain sidelined according to the BBC.
Predicted Doncaster Rovers line-up
(4-3-2-1) Neil Sullivan; Sam Hird, Wayne Thomas, Matt Kilgallon, Joseph Mills; Brian Stock, Paul Keegan, Mark Wilson, John Oster; Jamie Coppinger; Jason Euell
subs: Gary Woods, Dennis Souza, Byron Webster, George Friend, Ryan Burge, Ryan Mason, Dean Shiels
Travelling to the Game
If you’re driving to this game then you will be encouraged to use the matchday Park & Ride at Swansea Vale. Parking here costs £5, which includes bus travel to the stadium. Seperate buses leave from the away end after the match. To get to here, leave the M4 at Junction 45 and take the A4067 towards the city centre. The Park and Ride is signposted from the A4067 soon after leaving the motorway.
If you’re travelling by train then the first piece of advice would be to take a paper, or a book. Its a long way you know Swansea. “One should always have something sensational to read on the train” as Oscar Wilde once wrote. Anyway, the LibertyStadium is about 30 minutes walk (1.5 miles) from the train station. Directions, courtesy of the ever excellent Football Ground Guide, are quite straight forward though. Turn right out of the station on to the High Street, and then at the traffic lights take a right onto Neath Road. Follow this road and the ground will eventually come into view on the right.
Sadly illness means that Viva Rovers much heralded in-game live twitter will not be in action for this game. We will be tweeting updates on a second hand basis so to join us in exile follow @vivarovers on Twitter. If you’re not a Twitter user you can still keep up with our 140 character or less match feedback by refreshing the page at twitter.com/vivarovers.
Live commentary of the game is as ever available through the official club website’s Rovers Player service with commentary from the hardest working Press man in showbusiness; Chris Mortley. If you’re in South Yorkshire then you’ll be able to listen to updates on BBC Radio Sheffield, likewise on BBC Radio Wales if you’re in the principality..
If you’re by a computer and inexplicably not glued to our twitter feed then the BBC’s ‘Live Text’ match update service is as good a way of keeping up with whats going on as any. And if you’re in front of the telly or working in Dixons for the afternoon the BBC Score Interactive service accessed via the red button will be the best source of television updates. [insert token Garth Crooks jibe here].