January 14, 2017
Barnet v Rovers
Goalkeeper Marko Marosi will be missing for around three months after being injured in the closing minutes of the home win over Portsmouth just over a week ago, and is the only new injury problem reported by Rovers ahead of today's game at Barnet.
Rovers' recent good sequence of results could be under threat today against a Barnet side who themselves have good recent form, but boss Darren Ferguson will have to decide on whether to include goalkeeper Ross Etheridge, who has returned apparently rejuvenated from a loan spell at Alfreton Town, or plump for new signing Ian Lawlor, who signed yesterday from Manchester City.
Apart from Marosi's absence, Mitchell Lund, Gary McSheffrey, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Luke McCullough all remain out due to injuries, although all four are continuing to make good progress in the treatment room. Teenage striker Liam Mandeville is still struggling with the thigh injury that has seen him miss the last two matches, with new signing Alfie May hoping for his first time on the pitch for Rovers after signing earlier this month from non-league Hythe Town.
Barnet also have injury concerns over their first choice goalkeeper, with Jamie Stephens substituted due to a knee injury early in last week's game against Leyton Orient. John Vickers, who is on loan from Swansea City, looks set to deputise if Stephens fails to recover.
Barnet continue to be without long term injury victims Michael Gash, Shaun Batt, Ben Tomlinson and James Pearson. Luke Gambin could be left out after being transfer listed after turning down new contract offer.
January 14, 2017
Today's match officials
The match officials appointed by the Football League for this afternoon's away game at Barnet are:
Referee: John Brooks
Assistant referees: Christopher Husband and Neil Radford
Fourth official: Robert Hyde
January 14, 2017
Rovers sign City keeper
Doncaster Rovers have signed 22 year old Manchester City goalkeeper Ian Lawlor on a two and a half year contract as Darren Ferguson moved to cope with the loss of Marko Marosi for most of the rest of the season.
But instead of signing someone on loan to cover Marosi's absence, he has opted to sign Lawlor to the club until the summer of 2019, which suggests that he will be offloading one of the existing goalkeepers in the summer.
Lawlor has been signed in time to be included in the squad for this afternoon's game at Barnet, with Ferguson non-committal as to which keeper he will elect to use.
Lawlor is clearly impressed by the ambition of the club, and the fact that Rovers are top of the League Two table has enabled them to beat off competition from other clubs to get their man.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Ian said: "I’m delighted to be here, I’m looking forward to progressing and getting involved with the lads. I spoke with the manager and saw the ambition of the club, obviously we’re on a great run at the moment but to see the future is something I want to be a part of. It’s nice to have the feeling that they want me to come in on a permanent basis. But there is nothing guaranteed in football, so I’m ready for a battle. I’ll work hard every day and, if selected come the weekend, will give everything I have."
Lawlor is a Republic of Ireland U19 and U21 international and while he has been called up twice for their senior squad, has yet to add a senior cap to his collection. He has come through City's academy, with spells on loan at Barnet and Bury after turning professional in 2012.
January 14, 2017
Ticket information v Yeovil Town
Doncaster Rovers have announced that they have received 500 tickets for the terracing and 567 tickets for seated areas when Rovers are due to play Yeovil Town on Saturday, 28th January.
Tickets have been on sale to season ticket holders for the last few days, and go on sale to Alliance members tomorrow.
Remaining tickets will go on general sale from Monday, 23rd January.
Please note that there is a £1 reduction in price for most categories of tickets sold on-line.
Ticket prices for the game are as follows:
Allocated seating (Screwfix Community Stand):
Adults £22 - Senior Citizens (65+) £18 - Young adult (16-21) £14 - Under 16s £6 - Disabled (+ carer) £18
On-line prices: Adults £21 - Senior Citizens (65+) £17 - Young adult (16-21) £13 - Under 16s £6 - Disabled (+ carer) £17
Terracing (Radio Cabs Stand)
Adults £16 - Senior Citizens (65+) £14 - Young adult (16-21) £12 - Under 16s £5
On-line prices: Adults £15 - Senior Citizens (65+) £13 - Young adult (16-21) £11 - Under 16s £5
Ticket prices bought on the day at Huish Park will all rise by £2 apart from the U16s category.
January 14, 2017
Provisional agreement for Hythe friendly
Hythe Town boss Clive Cook has paid tribute to the manner in which Doncaster Rovers negotiated with them over the transfer of striker Alfie May, and has revealed that the two clubs even talked about Rovers travelling down for a pre-season friendly in the summer.
May joined Rovers earlier this month after having Alfie up for training before Christmas and it seems the two clubs continue to have good relations.
Cook revealed to Kent Live: "Doncaster were very good and Darren, their manager, was very good in the whole process. We are happy with the undisclosed fee. They treated us like a proper football club, they didn't treat us like minnows. They were very, very good to Hythe Town and I was impressed."
"Darren looked after Alfie when he went up and made a good impression on him. I feel that non-league players sometimes get disregarded but he could be a future star. Everyone says it, but look at Jamie Vardy. I'm just so pleased with how Doncaster handled it and that Alfie got a two and a half year deal. I think he will do very well."
As far as the friendly, he added: "It was spoken about but it's a long way away and depends on their plans. It would be very good to see Alfie back, especially for the fans to see how he has improved. It would be good but it has to fit into the plans of Doncaster Rovers."
January 11, 2017
Marosi out for three months
Goalkeeper Marko Marosi will be stuck on the sidelines for three months after it was found that he has damaged ankle ligaments. The 23 year old stopper was carried off in the later stages of Thursday's home game against Portsmouth and was sent for a scan, which revealed ligament damage and a chipped ankle bone.
Boss Darren Ferguson told the Doncaster Star: "Marko is out for three months. He's torn his ligaments and a tiny bit of bone in the ankle has come off and broken away. He had a scan on Monday. It is almost identical an injury to the one Craig Alcock had in the summer. It's a minimum of three months."
Rovers had recalled Ross Etheridge from his loan at Alfreton Town ahead of the game against Portsmouth, and he looks set to be given an extended run in the side, although Ferguson does seem intent in signing more goalkeeping cover, with only youth team keeper Louis Jones as an alternative.
The Rovers manager added: "It leaves us with Ross and Louis (Jones). The reason I brought Ross back was I didn't really want to have to have Louis on the bench, no disrespect to him. We did our job getting Ross out on loan which has give him a lot more confidence. It got him games and gave him sharpness. I brought him back for the Portsmouth game and he did very well when he had to come on."
"Certainly, I'll be looking to get one (a goalkeeper) in. There's a chance it will be before the weekend but you never know. We made one or two calls on Monday and Tuesday and we're waiting on calls back. It's going to be for competition. I have to make a decision on who starts on Saturday. That's why I want this done as quickly as we can. Hopefully we can get someone in by Thursday if we can and make a decision from there."
January 11, 2017
Beestin signs until 2019
Young midfielder Alfie Beestin has signed an extension to his contract at Doncaster Rovers, which now means he will be at the club until the summer of 2019.
He signed a one year deal in the summer when he joined Rovers from Tadcaster Albion, and has made eight first team appearances so far, albeit mainly from the substitutes' bench.
But Rovers boss Darren Ferguson clearly rates him, with the player pleased to have received a vote of confidence from his manager.
Speaking to DROS, Alfie said: He said: “I’m really pleased, to get another two years is really pleasing and the pressure is off a bit. I feel like the gaffer wants me. He feels like I have a part to play, and I’m not here just to sit on the bench."
January 11, 2017
Mansfield Town 1 Youth team 1
The Rovers youth team were held to a 1-1 draw in their first game of 2017 last Saturday, being pegged back from a 1-0 half time lead. Two own goals were scored in the game, and while there were several goal scoring opportunities for each side, a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping prevented further goals in the game.
Mansfield Town: Sundby, Bloor, Baldwin, C.Smith, Ratcliffe (C), Harrison, Wilder, A.Smith (Law 60), Hakeem, Marriott (Dumbleton 46), Blake (Reittie 69)
Unused substitutes: Walker, Behailu
Doncaster Rovers: Jones, Walker, Amos, Morgan (Prior 85), Barker (C), Fielding, Townrow (Foulkes 62), Fletcher, Henderson (Scattergood 85), Longbottom, Overton (Morris 77)
Unused substitute: Leverton (GK)
January 11, 2017
Goals review
A review of ex-Rovers players scoring goals since last weekend begins in the National League, where Michael Rankine scored the winning goal for Guiseley ten minutes from time to give them a 2-1 victory over Maidstone, and while they remain in the relegation places, Guiseley are now only a point behind Maidstone.
Meanwhile, in the Vanarama National League North, ex-Rovers midfielder scored a late equaliser for Darlington 1883 in the 90th minute of their home game against Nuneaton Town - but that still wasn't enough to take a point, with Nuneaton hitting back to score a winner with only seconds remaining, the game ending in a 2-1 win for the visitors.
And in the FA Cup Third Round, Theo Robinson was Lincoln City's hero as he scored twice against Championship club Ipswich Town - but the home side hit back to level on both occasions, so the game ended 2-2, and it goes to a replay at Sincil Bank next week.
January 10, 2017
Ferguson after permanent deal for Conor
Rovers boss Darren Ferguson wants Everton midfielder Conor Grant to become a permanent member of the squad when his loan expires at the end of the season.
Ferguson revealed to the Doncaster Free Press last week that Rovers have had a bid accepted by Everton, but Grant requested that his Rovers return was only on loan so he can keep his options open at the end of the season.
Of course, if Rovers can maintain their promotion challenge, the prospect of playing in League One next season may be a sufficient 'carrot' to persuade Grant to sign on in the summer.
Speaking to the Doncaster Free Press, Ferguson said: "Conor just wanted to come and play and enjoy his football. The hope is, he does that, we’re all successful together and then certainly I’d be looking at doing a permanent in the summer if we can. As a club we had a bid accepted by Everton to sign him permanently. That shows where we want to go as a football club. But the boy decided he wanted to come on loan."
"When I met him and his dad, he obviously had reservations about coming to League Two. He feels he’s got a point to prove and he should be playing at a higher level. We managed to convince him as a club we want to be at a higher level. If he comes in and helps us be successful and someone offers him a fortune, he’s done his job. But we will be competitive in that sense. If we get to where we want to, then we’ll try to keep him."
Ferguson revealed that he was quick off the mark once he heard that Conor's loan at Ipswich had been cut short in November, adding: "As soon as that happened, we put in that call. You think, it ain’t going to happen. But then as time went on it got more and more positive. It obviously helped that we’re doing well in the league. I just think he’s such a good lad. He’s had a bad experience at Ipswich and sometimes when that happens you just want to go somewhere where you can trust the manager and players, you know you’re going to play more of the time if you’re on form and you know you enjoy the way the team tries to play."
January 10, 2017
Injury update
The injury situation at Doncaster Rovers should improve in the coming weeks, with all three long-term injury casualties reported to be ahead of schedule in their recovery.
Defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair was feared to be set to miss the whole season after suffering knee ligament damage at the end of last season, but is doing well and could be in with a chance of being fit to play by the end of February.
Striker Gary McSheffrey is also doing well and is a little ahead of Taylor-Sinclair, and could be looking at a mid-February return.
And defender Luke McCullough, who had serious cruciate ligament damage when playing in a pre-season game in the summer, could be fit enough for a return for the final month of the season, although Darren Ferguson is to be extremely cautious and will not risk him playing unless he is totally convinced by his fitness.
Teenage striker Liam Mandeville missed the Portsmouth game with a thigh injury, but his injury is not thought to be serious and should be back in contention for the weekend. With Andy Williams now fit, and the signing of Alfie May last week, Rovers are not short of attacking options and will not risk Mandeville if he is not fully fit.
January 10, 2017
Sheridan sacked by Notts County
Notts County have sacked former Rovers midfielder John Sheridan as their manager. County went on a run of nine successive league defeats that left the club only a point above the League Two relegation places, and a record of winning only six of his 24 league games since joining in the summer was clearly not good enough for the club bosses.
Sheridan's final game was a 4-0 defeat at Cambridge on 2nd January and with the club set to be taken over by businessman Alan Hardy, Sheridan's job was always in doubt.
He had admitted that he was under pressure due to their poor results before Christmas.
A club statement issued a very brief statement which read: "Notts County FC can confirm that John Sheridan is to leave his position as manager with immediate effect. The club will be making no further statement at this time."
Former Manchester United striker Alan Smith, now a midfielder at County, has been named as caretaker manager while the club decide who to appoint as a new manager.
January 10, 2017
Stuckmann leaves Partick
Ex-Rovers goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann has left Partick Thistle at the end of his short term contract, playing just five times for the club during his time in Scotland.
Stuckmann joined Thistle in September at a time when first choice keeper Tomas Cerny was injured, and played in two wins and three defeats before Cerny returned to fitness to reclaim his first team place.
Partick have now signed former Hearts and St Mirren goalkeeper Mark Ridgers as cover for Cerny, thus meaning that the experienced Stuckmann is no longer required.
January 10, 2017
Ferguson - still a place for Tyler at Rovers
Defender Tyler Garratt may be just over half way through his month's loan at Eastleigh, but his loan move does not necessarily mean that his career at Doncaster Rovers is over, says boss Darren Ferguson.
Garratt has struggled to force his way into the first team picture at Rovers, but Ferguson insists that the youngster needs some competitive games to 'toughen him up'.
Speaking to the Doncaster Star, Ferguson said: "I just feel he needs games. He’s been a little bit unfortunate. We all need to remember that he’s hardly played any real first team football."
"We got him as a young boy coming out of Bolton. We managed to nick him really, because they wanted to keep him. I feel, going to Eastleigh in that league with Martin as his manager, he will taste that different sort of environment which will toughen him up. I think it’s the perfect move for him. I’m really pleased he’s got that move actually."
"Tyler’s got a lot of good attributes. Certainly, going to that sort of environment, he’ll have to toughen up quick."
January 10, 2017
Ikeme signs on for more at Wolves
Former Rovers loan goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has signed a new contract at Wolverhampton Wanderers, meaning he will now stay at the club until the summer of 2019. Ikeme first joined Wolves as a youth team player as a 15 year old - and now has 15 years at the club under his belt.
Speaking to the Express & Star, Carl said: "I'm delighted. I've been here since I was 15 years of age - it's something I'm proud of. I've got good relationships with everyone here including the fans. I want to continue it and have more success here. or me personally I feel like I've always got a challenge here. And under the new gaffer I feel like the club is moving in the right direction. It's given everyone impetus and belief that we can do well. I'm looking forward to being a part of that."
Wolvers boss Paul Lambert added: "I think it is important to get players like Carl Ikeme signed up to a new deal. He knows exactly what the club is about and if you get a core of lads like that then they can look after the dressing room as well. Carl has been terrific since I arrived and I think this is a big signing for the club.He is a big presence, a great lad and a top goalkeeper."
January 9, 2017
Barker leaves Dons to join Charlton
Ex-Rovers striker Richie Barker has left MK Dons after 'holding the fort' as caretaker manager following the sacking of previous boss Karl Robinson. He kept the position until Robbie Nelson was appointed as their new boss in early December. Despite initial intentions that he would stay at the club in some capacity, the club's chairman Pete Winkelman ultimately decided it would be best if they parted company.
Barker had been at MK Dons for two and a half years, joining shortly after being sacked as manager at Portsmouth.
Less than 24 hours after it was made public that he had left the MK Dons, it was announced that Barker had joined the coaching staff at Charlton Athletic - where ex-MK Dons boss Karl Robinson is now manager, thus reuniting the pair, with Robinson telling the club's official web site: "Once Richie became available, I wanted to act to get him".
January 9, 2017
Mandeville - I'm happy at Rovers
Teenage striker Liam Mandeville is trying hard not to listen to the transfer speculation that inevitably has arisen following his stunning form of late, getting his first team chance when Andy Williams suffered an injury in December.
Boss Darren Ferguson has admitted that the club is aware of other clubs showing interest in Mandeville, but both are trying to dampen down speculation.
Mandeville told the Doncaster Free Press recently: "I don’t think about any of that. I’m happy here and I want to get promotion. You can’t really control any of the other stuff."
He added: "It’s going well at the moment and hopefully it can continue. I wasn’t ever expecting any of this to happen so it’s nice. I’m really enjoying my football. This team is focused on winning promotion and we’re on course at the moment. We’re averaging two points per game, and I think that will see us through."
January 9, 2017
Voting results v Portsmouth
Voting for the "Man of the Match" for Thursday evening's home game against Portsmouth turned out to be a competition between just four players, with double goal scorer John Marquis being the clear winner, gaining exactly half of all votes cast.
The four to receive votes were:
1 John Marquis (50.0%)
2 Marko Marosi (28.57%)
3 Mathieu Baudry (14.29%)
4 Tommy Rowe (7.14%)
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to take part. The next vote will open after Saturday's away game at Barnet.
January 9, 2017
McDermott lifts lid on McIndoe scandal
Former Walsall teenage footballer David McDermott is the first to publicly make comment on being a victim of the failed investment scheme that has landed former Rovers winger Michael McIndoe in hot water with the Fraud Squad.
Numerous names have been reported in the press as being victims of the "Ponzi scheme" which collapsed, leaving most investors well out of pocket, with court documents citing a total of £3.5 million being owed to 17 people, mainly footballers. Dozens of others are suspected to be victims but with few willing to comment, the extend of the fraud is yet to be determined.
McDermott, now aged 28, made his debut for Walsall as a 16 year old and was 21 when he was first introduced to McIndoe at one of his lavish beach side parties in Marbella around 2010.
Speaking to the Express & Star, McDermott said: "We were 21 and we looked up to him. He did not drink, he did not do drugs, he had a successful career and was making all this money, flying us over, and having women around us all the time. We took his word as gospel."
He continued: "He was networking. People saw the money and they were like ‘flipping heck let’s get involved’. Some people had spare cash and thought they would put the money in for two or three months and take it back out. It was everyone, footballers, businessmen. I would get approached because football is a small community and word gets around."
McDermott, family members and friends put their savings into the scheme while others took out bank loans. “When I came back from Marbella and four or five months later he phoned up one day and said ‘they’ve stopped it and pulled the plug on it’. My response was as long as I got my money back. We trusted him at that point."
He added: "A lot of the lads it has been the same to pay it off. It has consumed their lives. A lot of the lads just wrote their money off. A lot of people are scared and embarrassed to come forward. The biggest thing is to be associated with what went on. I don’t think people need to be scared. If someone offers you an investment and your friends are involved you have a chance you are going to take it. You can change as a person. Seeing all that money at just 21 it is hard not to."
Scotland Yard’s Falcon fraud squad has launched an investigation into the scheme. McIndoe was declared bankrupt in October 2014 and is now understood to be living abroad and unsurprisingly was not available for comment.
January 8, 2017
Ticket information v Barnet
Tickets for the away game at Barnet on Saturday, 14th January are now on sale from the ticket office at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Due to late receipt of the tickets, the schedule for sale of tickets is more compressed than usual - from Monday morning they will be on sale to season ticket holders and Alliance members, with any remaining tickets going on general sale from Wednesday, 11th January.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adults £23 - Senior Citizens (60+) £14 - Young adults (17-20) £14 - Juniors (16 & under) £5
All disabled supporters, whether ambulant or in wheelchairs, should contact Barnet direct for tickets for themselves and their carer. Barnet's phone number is 0208 381 3800.
January 8, 2017
Travel information to Barnet
The Doncaster Rovers Supporters Club are running coaches to the away game at Barnet on Saturday, 14th January.
The coaches will leave Retford at 9.15am, Bawtry 9.30am, Harworth 9.20am, Rossington 9.30am, Hare & Tortoise 9.35am, Doncaster Royal Infirmary 9.45am and the Keepmoat Stadium at 10.00am.
Fares for the trip are:
Members: Adults £22 - Concessions £20
Non-members: Adults £24 - Concessions £22
To book a place on the coach, please phone Paul Mayfield (07961 727769) after 6pm, Len South (01302 817347) after 6pm or Steve Warnes (07780 316923)
Please note that all bookings for Saturday games have a deadline of the Wednesday before the game, and for all midweek games, the deadline is the previous Sunday.
January 8, 2017
Goals review
A little belatedly, we look back on goals scored in recent games by former Doncaster Rovers players.
We begin with games from Saturday, 31st December and start in League Two, where Jonathan Forte scored Notts County's second goal, but it was still not enough to save County from a 3-2 home defeat by promotion chasing Carlisle United.
Moving north of the border, we start in the Scottish Premier League, with Martin Woods scoring Ross County's winning goal as they registered a 3-2 home win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
In the Scottish Championship, Gary MacKenzie scored for St Mirren in their 1-1 home draw against Morton.
And then we move on to games played on Monday, 2nd January.
There are a couple of goals to mention from these matches, beginning in League One, where Billy Sharp scored Sheffield United's first goal in their 3-1 away win at Bury.
In League Two, Uche Ikpeazu scored Cambridge United's second goal as they beat a beleaguered Notts County 4-0, which ultimately cost County boss John Sheridan his job.
January 8, 2017
Houghton stays for rest of the season
Doncaster Rovers have confirmed that Chelsea midfielder Jordan Houghton has signed an extension to his loan deal at the club, and he will now stay at the Keepmoat Stadium until the end of the season. That is welcome news, with Houghton being a key part of the Rovers midfield this season.
The news was confirmed at the same time that Chelsea announced that Jordan has signed a new deal at Stamford Bridge, meaning he will remain under contract with the Blues until the summer of 2018.
Jordan told the Doncaster Free Press after his loan extension had been confirmed: "I’ve enjoyed every moment since I’ve been here, I’ve moved up and am settled up here. It helps that I’m playing every week, and hopefully that can continue for the rest of the season. There were three clubs interested in League One, but I never had my head turned because I want to finish off the good start to the season we have."
"I want to get that promotion and hopefully win the title. It was the right decision for me, and all the parties I think. Chelsea were happy for me to stay because I’m playing. And I’m happy because I’m enjoying it, and hopefully Doncaster are enjoying it as I’m part of a winning side."
January 8, 2017
Mason also confirms he's staying
On loan defender Niall Mason has had his loan from Aston Villa extended until the end of the season. The versatile Villa youngster has been a regular in the Rovers side in the first half of the season and has his eyes on promotion.
He told the Doncaster Free Press: "I’ve had a really good time since I’ve been here, and had a really good experience. I can’t wait for the coming months now. I am gaining a bit of confidence, knowing I can play first-team football which is brand-new to me. Promotion is the target, to keep the performances we know gets us results and win as many games as possible. We need to keep maintaining those standards to ensure we get over the line. I want to keep playing every game and try to keep performing well."
Niall's willingness to play wherever he is needed has not been missed by boss Darren Ferguson, who told the Yorkshire Post: "He’s shown his flexibility. He’s played right wing-back, right-back, left centre-half, left-back, midfield. We knew he had that flexibility. I thought he was excellent when he went to centre midfield at Notts County. It’s a position he likes to play. He’s done very well at left-back, though he is right-footed. With Tyler Garratt going out on loan and Cedric Evina looking for another club, I still feel we’ve got options in that position. He’s been an important player for us. He’s done very, very well. I like him. He’s only young and he’s got a lot of improvement in him, but he’s got the right attitude."
January 8, 2017
Macheda's Italian move confirmed
Italian Serie B side Novara have confirmed the signing of former Rovers loan striker Federico Macheda, with his contract believed to last until the end of the 2017/18 season.
Macheda had a brief trial at Novara in December, and was a free agent after being released by Cardiff City at the end of last season.
A brief statement issued by Novara said: "The Novara Calcio Company is pleased to inform journalists and fans that it has reached an agreement for the attacker’s registration, Federico Macheda, born 1991".
Macheda played for Rovers while on loan from Manchester United, and also had loans at Sampdoria, QPR, Stuttgart and Birmingham City while on the books at United. A full transfer then followed to Cardiff in 2014, where he signed for ex-Man United striker Ole Gunnar Solkjaer, but following a change in manager, he struggled to hold down a regular first team place.
January 8, 2017
Match officials
Due to sporadic updates of this site in the last couple of weeks, we have not included details of appointments of match officials for recent games.
For the away game at Mansfield Town on Saturday, 31st December, the match officials appointed by the Football League were:
Referee: Peter Bankes
Assistant referees: Timothy Wood and Matthew McGrath
Fourth official: Nick Hopton.
For the home game against Stevenage Borough on Monday, 2nd January, the match officials were:
Referee: Mark Brown
Assistant referees: Stephen Wade and Matthew Bristow
Fourth official: Neil Hair
Finally, for the home game against Portsmouth on Thursday, the match officials were:
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Assistant referees: Shaun Hudson and Tony Peart
Fourth official: Andrew Madley
January 7, 2017
Rovers 3 Portsmouth 1
Rovers fans will be starting to think that promotion could well be achieved this season after Thursday evening's impressive victory opened up a four point gap at the top of the League Two table. Perhaps more importantly, it opened up a ten point gap between Rovers and fourth placed Portsmouth - and the longer that gap can be maintained, the sooner the dreams of automatic promotion could be achieved.
With the game brought forward 48 hours due to the dictates of the lords and masters of football these days - Sky Sports - Rovers turned on the style in front of the television cameras to inflict Portsmouth's first away defeat since September. Rovers have produced a good set of results over the Christmas and New Year period to consolidate their promotion challenge - but, as everyone knows, promotion isn't won in January, and that form needs to be maintained.
Rovers applied the pressure right from the start against Portsmouth, taking a fifth minute lead, with Coppinger's cross being headed home by John Marquis. They failed to capitalise on that dream start, and Portsmouth eventually levelled matters as the game headed towards the half time break, with a pass from Jordan Houghton being intercepted by former Rovers winger Kyle Bennett, who fed the ball for Naismith to score.
Rovers went back in front after an hour's play, with a superb goal by Tommy Rowe ending a flowing move that started off in the right back position. Coppinger fed Rowe, who finished superbly, even though he was assisted by an only half-hearted interception attempt by a Portsmouth defender on the edge of the box.
That lead was increased in the 71st minute when a cross in from Rowe on the left was volleyed home in style by Marquis for his second goal of the game.
The only down-side to Rovers' victory was the sight of goalkeeper Marko Marosi being carried off the field on stretcher four minutes from time after landing on his ankle awkwardly, although the recalled Ross Etheridge coped well with all that was asked of him in the last few minutes of action.
January 7, 2017
Voting results v Mansfield Town
Apologies for the delay in confirming the results of the "Man of the Match" for the away game at Mansfield Town on Boxing Day.
Defender Andy Butler was the clear winner of the voting, gaining over one in three of the votes cast, with the in-form Liam Mandeville his closest rival.
We received nominations for nine different players this time, with the most votes going as follows:
1 Andy Butler (38.46%)
2 Liam Mandeville (15.38%)
3= Mathieu Baudry, Jordan Houghton (11.54% each)
Thank you to everyone who took the time to place their votes, we really appreciate it.
January 7, 2017
Voting results v Stevenage Borough
We received nominations for seven different players for the "Man of the Match" in the home game against Stevenage Borough on Monday.
Again, a defender won the voting by a clear margin, this time it being Mathieu Baudry who caught the eye of most supporters.
The players to receive the most votes were:
1 Mathieu Baudry (48.15%)
2 Matty Blair (11.53%)
3 Tommy Rowe (7.69%)
We thank everyone who took the time to vote. Every single vote received this season will go towards the season's totals, at which stage a "Player of the Season" will be revealed.
January 7, 2017
What the managers said
As has been the case in a number of matches this season, the half time talk given by Darren Ferguson proved to be the key to success.
Speaking after the game, he explained: "I think the goal was a hindrance rather than a help. Sometimes that happens with an early goal. All of a sudden we started to play counter-attacking and we couldn't get control of the game. I thought Portsmouth were the better team in the first half and I was pleased we went in level at the break."
"Half time came at the right time for us. The problem was that we didn’t keep the ball well enough. If you keep giving the ball back to Portsmouth they’ll cause you problems because they’re a good technical team.
"In the second half we kept the ball much, much better, which allowed our centre halves to get up the pitch and we could go and press them. That was the big difference and the second goal was a really good example of that. We were much more like ourselves after half time and we were much more composed on the ball, and that won us the game."
He then went on to praise striker John Marquis, whose two goals were taken well and have been important factors all season.
Ferguson added: "He was outstanding and he has been all season. He hasn't scored for four or five games but his two goals were excellent. They were really clinical finishes. He gave their centre-halves a really long night."
However, he played down whether the result could be a turning point in Rovers' ambitions for this season, commenting: "With 21 games to go, 10 points is catchable, there is no question about that. What we have done is maintain the home form and the unbeaten home record which is proving really crucial. Time will tell how significant that result was."
Portsmouth boss Paul Cook was particularly disappointed with the way his players started the game, and told their official club site: "We’ve prided ourselves lately on starting games properly, but we were an absolute shambles in the first 5-10 minutes. We conceded a sloppy goal and that’s always going to happen if you don’t do things correctly. But I then thought we took control of the game until half-time and thoroughly deserved to get back level. You expect us to go on and win from that point, but instead we were punished for giving the ball away so cheaply in the middle third of the pitch."
"Doncaster are a good side and we have to give them credit for being at the top of the table, although there’s still a long way to go. But if you don’t respect your opponents and don’t respect possession of the ball then teams like them will hurt you – and that’s exactly what they did. We’ve got an arrogance about us at times that just isn’t correct. It should come off the back of victories, but sometimes we show it before we’ve won and that’s not a good trait. I say all the time that it’s only at the end of the season that the plaudits are dished out, so we just have to concentrate on the next game. And I have to praise the travelling Pompey fans who made such a long journey to support us on a Thursday night."
January 7, 2017
Rovers sign Donaldson - then loan him out
Doncaster Rovers have signed teenage midfielder Tony Donaldson after he has trained with the club for several months, on a contract which will last until the summer of 2018.
He has joined Rovers from non-league club Runcorn Linnets after being at Wigan Athletic's youth team set-up.
No sooner had news come out of the club that he had signed, than he was on his way to AFC Telford on a month's loan to gain some first team match experience.
Donaldson has joined Telford for one month, remaining with them until 4th February. He is set to be involved in Telford's home game against Gainsborough Trinity this afternoon.
January 7, 2017
Etheridge returns from loan spell
Goalkeeper Ross Etheridge has been recalled from his loan spell at Alfreton Town, despite only joining midway through December, during which time he has played three games and did not experience defeat during that time.
He was recalled in time to be included on the bench for Thursday evening's game against Portsmouth - and it proved just as well he was there, with Marko Marosi picking up an ankle injury in the closing minutes of the game.
January 7, 2017
Match highlights
Highlights of Thursday evening's home game against Portsmouth are now available on Sky Sports' web site.
To view the highlights, please click on the logo to the left.
January 4, 2017
Grant returns to Rovers
Everton midfielder Conor Grant has returned to Doncaster Rovers on loan for the rest of the 2016/17 season. The deal was struck with parent club Everton, who had recalled Grant from his loan spell with Ipswich Town due to him not playing enough games for them. He played his last game for Ipswich on 22nd October, but was signed by Rovers in time for him to make his 'second debut' in Monday's home game against Stevenage Borough.
Conor signed a new two year deal with Everton last summer, but feels as though he has 'unfinished business' at Rovers, with last season's loan at the club being cut short due to injury.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: "I’m delighted to be back, it feels like I have unfinished business with Rovers after injury ended my loan spell last season and relegation. There were other offers, but the manager made it an easy choice for me. The fans took to me last time, so it was a straightforward decision really. The manager told me how much he wanted me, and having a manager who has confidence and believes in you makes a real difference in football."
But Conor is hoping that this season will have a happier ending than twelve months ago, adding: "I am a creative player, so I want to create and score goals, but I just want to help out the team in any way I can. So, really, my only target is to ensure we win promotion and are all celebrating by the end of the season."
January 4, 2017
Rovers give teenage duo contracts
Doncaster Rovers have handed teenage starlets Reece Fielding and Will Longbottom their first professional contracts, with both having featured in the first team squad during the first half of the season.
The pair have agreed two and a half year contracts, meaning they will be at the club until the summer of 2019.
January 4, 2017
Rovers release two
As part of his transfer dealings in the January transfer window, boss Darren Ferguson has decided to allow midfielder Riccardo Calder to return to Aston Villa, deciding against extending his loan for the second half of the season. Calder was a success in his loan at Rovers last season, but has struggled to feature regularly in the starting line-up so far this season, being mainly used as a substitute.
Also leaving Rovers is defender Frazer Richardson, who has reached the end of his short-term contract with the club. Richardson was signed as cover during an injury crisis earlier in the season, but has been injured for most of his time at Rovers. He is still recovering from injury, but Rovers are allowing him to continue his rehabilitation with the club.
Darren Ferguson told DROS: "I’d like to thank Riccardo and Frazer for their contributions to the club. Both have fantastic attitudes and have contributed to getting us where we are now."
January 4, 2017
Pugh moves to Frickley
Rovers youngster Joe Pugh has joined non-league club Frickley Athletic on a month's loan. He signed in time for their game against Whitby Town on Monday, and will remain with Frickley until 2nd February.
Joe has also been out on loan at Boston United and Hyde United earlier this season.
January 4, 2017
Match highlights
Brief highlights of Doncaster Rovers' home game against Stevenage Borough on Monday are now available on the Sky Sports web site>
If you would like to view them, please click on the logo to the left.
January 3, 2017
Rovers 1 Stevenage Borough 0
The "Man of the Match" voting for Monday's home game against Stevenage Borough is now open. If you would like to take part, please click on the logo to the left.
Please note that the voting for the Mansfield Town game is still open, so please make sure that you use the link for the intended match.
January 1, 2017
Mansfield Town 1 Rovers 1
A penalty by Liam Mandeville enabled Doncaster Rovers to take a point from their final game of 2016. Mandeville's goal, which came from the spot after Matty Blair was brought down by the Mansfield goalkeeper 13 minutes from time, was perhaps tough justice on the hosts, with Rovers barely putting a shot on target until that stage.
Rovers were certainly far from at their best, but Mansfield weren't a great deal better either, with passes going astray on a frequent basis. Mansfield had clearly decided to push forward and get early balls into the Rovers penalty area, but it still took them until the 59th minute to take the lead, when Matt Green gave the Stags a deserved lead. Williams and Mandeville then went close, but it looked as though it was going too be a fruitless task for Rovers until that penalty incident, with Rowe attempting to take the ball towards the goal, with the keeper bringing Blair down as he attempted to go around him.
Mandeville's penalty sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to give Rovers a point. The result put Rovers clear at the top of the league table, although results later in the afternoon would see them finish the day in third.
The "Man of the Match" voting for the game is now open, and will remain open until Wednesday evening. Please note that from Tuesday morning, there will be two votes running concurrently, so please make sure you select the right one when placing your vote!
As usual, please click on the logo to the left to vote.
January 2, 2017
Rovers v Stevenage Borough
Skipper James Coppinger is set to return to the side for this afternoon's home game against Stevenage Borough. Coppinger has now completed a three match suspension due to his sending off at Plymouth, and is almost certain to be included in the starting line-up.
There seem to be no new injury concerns arising from Saturday's game at Mansfield, with the longer term injury casualties, Gary McSheffrey (knee), Mitchell Lund (kidney), Luke McCullough (knee) and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (knee) still absent.
Midfielder Jordan Houghton will continue in midfield after having his loan extension confirmed, and new signing Alfie May is expected to be included in the squad after completing his transfer from Hythe Town yesterday.
Stevenage are set to includ Tyler Walker for his first start since October after recovering from injury. He came on as a subsitute on Saturday without suffering any after effects and will be included today. That means that Tom Conlon (knee) is their only long term injury casualty.
Stevenage boss Darren Sarll is hoping that the loans of Jack King, Harry McKirdy and Henry Cowans will all be extended in time for the game.
Changes could be on the cards, though, with Sarll questioning the desire of his players after losing both games over Christmas, with Jobi McAnuff, Charlie Lee, Michael Tonge and Reda Johnson hoping for recalls.
January 2, 2017
May signs for Rovers
Darren Ferguson unveiled striker Alfie May as his first signing of the New Year, and has hinted that Alfie may be in line for his debut in today's game against Stevenage Borough.
May has signed a two and a half year contract, with the fee paid to Hythe Town remaining undisclosed, but Hythe have said that a sell-on clause has been included.
Ferguson told the Doncaster Star: "He did well in the week he was in with us on trial. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I’ve just got to manage how quickly I think he can play a part. With goalscorers, sometimes you just chuck them in and they are liable to get you a goal. There is a chance he will be involved on Monday, certainly.”
Hythe boss Clive Cook paid tribute to the departing Alfie, telling Kent OnLine ahead of their game on Saturday: "Hopefully, this game will be the last we ever see of him at this level. He’s a smashing lad, easy to manage. He just wants to work hard and play football. I’m not sure whether to start him or bring him off the bench. Do I go with my head or my heart? We want to say goodbye but at the same time I don’t want to think that one tackle could undo all the hard work he’s put in."
"Alfie’s created an awful lot of interest and it’s great to see that Football League clubs can find talent in non-league players. It shows the players there is a pathway there for them if they work hard enough."
May cannot wait to get started on the next chapter of his career, telling DROS: "From the minute I met the players, they came out their way to ask where I was from and introducing themselves. It made it so much easier and took a lot of weight off my shoulders. It is a big step, but I feel confident I can play in League 2 and training every day will only improve me. I’ve done really well in non-league with Hythe, I’ve felt they’ve really got the best out of me, but working with Darren Ferguson as manager is different – I reckon he can get goals out of me too."
Hythe chairman Paul Markland told his club's website: "Alfie has been scoring plenty of goals and has been noticed by several Football League clubs. Doncaster were keenest and, after a bit of negotiation, we settled on a deal that we are happy with, including a sell-on percentage. They were astute, but fair and professional, and didn’t play the big club-little club card. I am glad we have helped Alfie into a career as a professional footballer. I’m sure he will do well."
January 2, 2017
Keepmoat's 10th anniversary
Today's game at home to Stevenage marks Doncaster Rovers' 10th anniversary at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The opening game at the new stadium was a virtual sell-out against Huddersfield Town, which Rovers went on to win 3-0, with the first goal being scored by Mark McCammon.
Rovers have not hinted as to whether there are any special plans for today, but boss Darren Ferguson said: "It’s a big occasion and we’re aware of that. It’s even more important that we get that result. It’s ten years at the Keepmoat. It’s a fantastic stadium and hopefully we get the win."
January 2, 2017
Today's match officials
The match officials appointed by the Football League for this afternoon's home game against Stevenage Borough are:
Referee: Mark Brown
Assistant referees: Stephen Wade and Matthew Bristow
Fourth official: Neil Hair
January 1, 2017
The match officials v Mansfield
The match officials appointed by the Football League for Saturday's away game at Mansfield Town were:
Referee: Stephen Martin
Assistant referees: Timothy Wood and Matthew McGrath
Fourth official: Nick Hopton
January 1, 2017
What the managers said
Darren Ferguson was unhappy only to have taken a point from Saturday's away game at Mansfield Town, although he did concede that it was a decent result considering how Rovers played.
Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield after the game, he commented: "I`m never happy with a point. The way the game went I suppose a point was not a bad result.We were not at our best until Mansfield scored and we had to react. We have had two tough away games in a week, local derbies, so four points is not a bad return."
He added: "The change in formation to three at the back allowed us to get a grip back on the game. I am never happy with a point, but we are right on our two points per game target. My two centre-halves were outstanding, very good. We spoke about keeping a high line and winning the first ball, and those two were outstanding. We dealt with the physical side of the game very well, the effort and endeavour was fantastic. I didn't think they caused us many problems, we just didn't get control of the game until they went ahead. When we did I thought we'd go on to win, and were unfortunate not to with Tommy Rowe's header against a post. The players know one or two didn't get to the standards they've set recently. But you get that, and you have to dig in - and we've done that and got a point. We're still seven points ahead of fourth, which is a good gap."
Steve Evans was disappointed not to have take all three points from the match, thinking that Mansfield were the better team for three quarters of the game.
He told Mansfield Town's official club site: “I think the game today was in two parts. It was probably 77-78 minutes in the game in which we were the better side by a long way, and probably should have put the game to bed, but that didn’t happen. We are a bit disappointed to have drawn a game in which if we had got the second goal, and we should have had the second goal, then the game would have been dead. You have to punish the better teams, because they are always going to be resolute, always going to come back at you. So, we go away disappointed."