For all the stick Steve McClaren received for that post match interview he did with Dutch television not long after his move to FC Twente, no-one else appears to have noticed that, accent aside, that is how he actually talks. I recently saw the comments he gave after the League Cup Nottingham derby last week and he spoke in the same broken staccato sound-bites he had on the clip that became YouTube fodder, only without the faux-Dutch Sean Connery-isms. For him it is, how you say, natural.
Anyway, after being ridiculed by the British media in London and Encshede, and shown the door by the board in Wolfsburg, McClaren is back in the UK, and already struggling to live up to unreasonable and pressure-laden comparisons to Brian Clough. The last thing the new Forest manager needs is to follow-up a draw with Barnsley, a scrape past Notts County and a loss at Millwall with defeat to ‘the likes of Doncaster’. Unfortunately for he, recent history is not on his side, and so expect Rovers fans, who have not seen a league win since 1st March, to embrace the current head to head record between the two sides like a recently found missing child.
Nottingham Forest have won just one of their last ten meetings with Rovers; the 4-1 triumph at the City Ground in November 2009, which put most of us off Chelsea Dagger for life. They have had much less luck in South Yorkshire though, with Dexter Blackstock’s close range strike in last season’s corresponding fixture Forest’s only goal in Doncaster in the last five seasons, and the only time they’ve ever hit the net at the Keepmoat Stadium. That is a record Rovers could strongly do with maintaining if they are to pick up their first points of the Championship season tonight.
Doncaster supporters will be hoping that the side can build on the positives of the opening two games rather than the results those matches brought. The slick controlled possession from the first hour at Brighton, or the steady improvement in attack and manner in which they created chances against West Ham will be enough to take points off Forest, providing of course they can be maintained for a longer period of time.The confidence is there in the players and the club, but if it is to remain then it needs to be mirrored by results sooner than later.
No news hasn’t proved to be particularly good news for Rovers as they remain without the services of the following ten players through injury; James O’Connor, Adam Lockwood, Shelton Martis, James Chambers, Mark Wilson, Martin Woods, Brian Stock, Ryan Mason, James Hayter, and Billy Sharp. That said Wilson has reportedly returned to training this week, whilst Martis and Stock are edging close to fitness. None are likely to be ready for this fixture though, so expect Sean O’Driscoll to begin the game with the same side.
Steve McClaren has almost the opposite team selection issues to O’Driscoll as he tries to integrate two new players into his squad. Matt Derbyshire could be handed his Forest debut after joining from Olympiakos, whilst forward Ishmael Miller could also be in contention for a place in the side after arriving from West Brom yesterday. The one key absentee for McClaren is Paul Anderson who remains out with a groin injury.
Predicted Rovers line-up:
(4-2-3-1) Gary Woods; Mustapha Dumbuya, Richard Naylor, George Friend, Tommy Spurr; Simon Gillett, John Oster; Jamie Coppinger, Kyle Bennett, Giles Barnes; Chris Brown
subs: Neil Sullivan, Sam Hird, Oscar Radford, Paul Keegan, James Baxendale
Travelling to the Game
Nottingham Forest fans will know the drill by now, but if there are any bands of Merry Men heading to the Keepmoat Stadium for the first time they can find all they need to know about the ground in our very own guide. Everything from how to get here on foot or by car, to where to have a pint or pick your tickets up is detailed under the ‘Keepmoat Stadium’ tab at the top of the page.
I’m refusing to accept defeat in the ongoing battle between my phone and the Keepmoat Stadium. It may have come out on top in the first two rounds, but I’m not throwing in the towel just yet and so the infamous Viva Rovers in-match twitter feed will hopefully ride again for this game. All being well I will be tweeting updates live from the Keepmoat Stadium, bringing you all the action and Geoff’s token moans in 140 characters or less. To get these updates follow @vivarovers on Twitter ad keep an eye out for the #drfc hashtag, or alternatively non-Twitter users can keep refreshing the page online at twitter.com/vivarovers.
For those of you who prefer your coverage to be both official and (slightly) more trustworthy the club’s Rovers Player service will be broadcasting full match coverage. Expect updates on the wireless via BBC Radio Sheffield and most likely BBC Radio Nottinghamshire as well if you’re further south. Online, if you don’t want to trust our Twitter feed then the Beeb’s Live Text commentary is probably your best bet for keeping informed whilst on the box there will be Garth Crooks free updates via the red button on the BBC.