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match previews

Lion Down – Millwall Preview

“Millwall, Millwall, you’re really dreadful, and all your girlfriends are unfulfilled and alienated”. Writer Graham Linehan has brought us many great things, but his football chant composing remains criminally under appreciated and sadly underused. So if you are going to tonight’s game please feel free to belt out that opening line – as previously ‘sung’ by Dylan Moran’s character Bernard in Black Books – providing of course you’ve got your best running shoes on and you’re confident you can get through the train before they close behind you.

Dean Saunders wants three points from this game proudly boasts the official club website, suggesting they’ve been as hard pushed as I have to find an angle on this game for their match preview. I also have it on good authority that Carl Ikeme is aiming to not concede any goals, Billy Sharp wants to score, and the whole team collectively are hoping to play well and win the game.

Also according to the official club website Rovers are “looking to build on the encouraging performance against Watford,” which suggests they were God awful against Barnsley given that Saturday’s showing was on the whole, little more than OK. Build on the encouraging clean sheet they achieved yes, but I’d be hoping that they banished any recollection of the second half of Saturday’s outing when they failed to string four or more passes together at any point, and look at building from a more solid base.The return of Mark Wilson though is encouraging after weeks spent trying full-backs and defenders in the centre of the park, it will be good to see an actual midfield player in the role (please God Mark don’t play shite and let down my faith).

Millwall sit just three places and six points ahead of Rovers teetering as they are above the relegation zone. However, the Lions do have an impressive level goal difference on their side, which somewhat dwarves Rovers’ figure of -17. Kenny Jackett’s side have been particularly difficult to break down at home, as Rovers discovered on their visit last year, and so this fixture will be a significant test of Doncaster’s capabilities to edge up the table.

Rovers are without several players for this game, with long-term absentees John Oster, Tommy Spurr, James Chambers and Martin Woods joined on the sidelines by George Friend, Pascal Chimbonda, Shelton Martis and Richard Naylor. El Hadji Diouf is unlikely to feature having limped off against Watford, whilst Herold Goulon is reportedly also carrying a knock from the weekend. The recall of Mark Wilson from his loan spell at Walsall would suggest that someone else has picked up a knock too; possibly Brian Stock who was moving gingerly in the closing minutes of Saturday’s game. The good news is that Jamie Coppinger is fit after missing the Watford game, and youngster James Husband has been trumpeted as being in the squad for this trip as well.

According to the BBC, Kenny Jackett is likely to stick with the on-loan defensive partnership Shane Lowry and Nathan Baker who reportedly impressed at the weekend. Tamika Mkandwire remains out with a knee injury, whilst goalkeeper David Forde is also sidelined, with Steve Mildenhall likely to deputise.

Carl Ikeme; James O’Connor, Sam Hird, Habib Beye, Herita Ilunga; Simon Gillett, Mark Wilson, Giles Barnes; Jamie Coppinger, Marc-Antoine Fortune; Billy Sharp

on the bench: Neil Sullivan, Mustapha Dumbuya, James Husband, Kyle Bennett, James Hayter

For those of you driving to The New Den, the excellent Football Ground Guide website recommends heading towards junction 2 of the M25 and taking the A2 in towards central London. It might not be the shortest route, but it is the most straightforward. The A2 actually goes straight past the stadium, about a mile after New Cross Gate station, but this part of the road does split so you’re advised to keep right following the signs labelled ‘A2 City/Westminster’. Parking can be found on the streets and estates around the ground. There’s bound to be some enterprising young scamp offering to “watch yer car mister” for a couple of quid.

If you’re travelling by train then the first piece of advice would be to avoid openly wearing Rovers colours on the last leg of your journey, just to be completely on the safe side, though my Rovers scarf met little reaction last season. You’ll need to work your way to London Bridge station and then catch an overground service to South Bermondsey station. At South Bermondsey a protected walkway for visiting fans takes you straight to the away end, so you’d be wise to head down this.

Unfortunately away games remain beyond our means at present, but we will, battery and internet pick-up depending, give updates on the game via our twitter feed as and when we get them. So, follow @vivarovers for these in-game 140 character or less despatches and look out for the #drfc hashtag to get exclusive second-hand details of Rovers, plus probably updates from Hallam vs Rossington Main too which is where we’re likely to be.

If you’re not going to the rural Home Counties village of London tonight, but still fancy taking in some live football then fear not, there’s a Doncastrian Derby at Church Street tonight. Two of the town’s Northern Counties East League teams meet in the West Riding FA County Cup, with Premier Division Armthorpe Welfare hosting Division One’s Askern Villa. The match is a 7:45pm kick-off.

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