April 21, 2014
Millwall v Rovers
If ever there was a "must win" game, then this afternoon's match must surely count as one of those. With results going against Rovers at the weekend, especially with Millwall's unexpected win at Middlesbrough, Rovers are by no means safe, being only one point above the bottom three, and one point separating five clubs.
At least Blackpool seem to be in 'free fall' - but Rovers know that they cannot rely on other results in the final few games of the season.
A win this afternoon will go a long way towards safety - but Millwall will also be thinking the same, so a tense game is likely to be experienced at the New Den. Perhaps the fact that Rovers played on Friday, whereas Millwall played on Saturday, may be an advantage?
Rovers will be hoping that striker Chris Brown overcomes the cramp in his hamstring that forced him to come off in the second half against Derby on Friday. Billy Sharp received a knock on his ankle early in the Derby game and struggled to run it off, but he is expected to be fit to play this afternoon.
The interesting team selections will depend on the outcome of fitness tests. Richie Wellens and Lucas Neill both missed the Derby game, but we hope that both are fit to take part this afternoon, with Wellens key to making the Rovers midfield tick.
Apart from those two, there are no new injury concerns for Paul Dickov to contend with.
For Millwall, they could see Richard Chaplow return after a month on the sidelines with an Achilles tendon injury. Fellow midfielder Ed Upson will miss the game - he has completed a two match suspension, but a knee injury will keep him out of action. Defender Danny Shittu has an Achilles injury and will miss the game as Millwall go in search of their third win in four games.
Paul Dickov knows the importance of today's game, declaring: "We have to go down there and get a result. It is imperative that we do."
April 21, 2014
Today's match officials
The match officials for this afternoon's game at Millwall have been appointed by the Football League. They will be:
Referee: Fred Graham
Assistant referees: Stuart Butler and Barry Holderness
Fourth official: Michael Bull
April 21, 2014
Voting results v Derby
Nominations for eight different players were received for the "Man of the Match" against Derby County, with midfielder David Cotterill coming out at the clear winner.
The players receiving the most votes were:
1 David Cotterill (41.18%)
2 Sam Johnstone (17.14%)
3 Chris Brown (14.28%)
4 Abdoulaye Meite (11.42%)
Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote. The next poll will open following this afternoon's away game at Millwall.
April 21, 2014
Ticket office shut
For all of you who are not travelling down to Millwall for this afternoon's game, and had ideas about going down to the Keepmoat Stadium to buy match tickets or renew your season ticket - don't bother, as they're shut as today is a Bank Holiday!
They will be open again tomorrow for the purchase of season tickets, as well as the remaining games against Reading (home) and Leicester City (away).
April 20, 2014
Husband could play again this season
James Husband's hamstring injury is not as bad as was first feared by Rovers, and he could play again this season - but it will be touch and go.
James has targeted the away game against Reading for his comeback, but failing that, "definitely" the final game of the season at Leicester City.
He told the Doncaster Star: “I had an injection on Wednesday to try and knock a few days off. The tear is not as bad as we first thought. I’m hopeful of getting back for Reading. If not Reading then definitely Leicester."
"We’ll have to see how it is. I’ve just got to rest it. I’ve got to do a bit of running and a bit in the pool, but other than that I can’t really do much.”
April 20, 2014
Wabara ends stay at City
Former Rovers loan defender Reece Wabara has left Manchester City after having his contract, which was due to expire this summer anyway, cancelled "by mutual agreement".
The defender spent the first four months of the season on loan at Rovers, but is now a free agent and is looking to find a new club, with his performances for Rovers, Ipswich Town, Oldham Athletic and Blackpool sure to alert other clubs.
Aged 22, Reece joined City from Walsall's youth team in 2007 and has made just one appearance for City's first team.
April 20, 2014
Dickov explains slow start for Marc
Rovers boss Paul Dickov has drawn on the experience of his time at Oldham Athletic to help gradually introduce Spanish midfielder Marc de Val Fernandez into English football.
So far, the midfielder has only played twice, although his start at the club was hardly ideal, picking up a major knee injury in a pre-season game, which set back his chances of making the first team.
Dickov told the Doncaster Free Press: “As staff, we want to treat Marc very similarly to how we did with Matt Smith at Oldham, we knew it was a big, big culture change from where he came from. With Marc, he struggled initially with the fitness work that we gave him, it was something he wasn’t used to. He’d just caught up with that when he got his injury and he’s been playing catch up a lot this year. It’s my job – rightly or wrongly – to manage him and I think I’m doing it the right way.”
"Is Marc De Val ready at the minute to get chucked in to the Championship? Who knows? We feel that we’re managing him the right way at the moment. We’ve got Richie Wellens, Paul Keegan and Dean Furman who have all done really well for us. Rather than force the issue, we would rather work with him [De Val] and benefit next season.”
Dickov went on: “I hear and read a lot of things about when and where Marc should be playing; I would like to think I’m the best judge of him because I’ve seen him play over three years. The people that are talking about this have only seen him in snippets.”
April 20, 2014
Goals review
With the fixture lists in the various leagues being split between Friday and Saturday this week, there are only two former Rovers players featuring in the 'goal scored' lists for yesterday's games.
In the Championship, Ross McCormack did Rovers a huge favour by scoring the goal for Leeds United that defeated Barnsley at Oakwell. He struck in the 16th minute, with the goal meaning that Barnsley remain in deep relegation trouble, next to the bottom in the table, but only three points adrift of safety.
In Scotland, Dean Shiels scored for the second game in a row as Rangers convincingly defeated Stenhousemuir in the Scottish League One.
April 19, 2014
Rovers 0 Derby County 2
A nerve-jangling end to the season looks in prospect for all Doncaster Rovers fans, although defeat against promotion chasing Derby County was by no means unexpected. It does make for a difficult game on Easter Monday at Millwall - a win for Rovers would virtually be enough to ensure survival, but defeat would drag Rovers right down into the mire, and with tough games to follow, what are the realistic chances of picking up enough points after that?
In the end, Derby took their chances, while Rovers struggled to test the visiting goalkeeper, even though they enjoyed good periods of possession during the game.
The Rovers side was expected, with Richie Wellens, Lucas Neill and James Husband sitting out, with Dean Furman, Gabriel Tamas and Enda Stevens starting the game in their place.
Rovers had early hopes when Derby defender Richard Keogh misdirected a back pass to his keeper, who had to clear the ball off the line. Chris Brown was the centre of most Rovers attacking moves, going close with a powerful header that forced Lee Grant to tip the ball over the bar at full stretch.
The deadlock was broken on the stroke of half time with a precise 25 yard drive into the bottom corner of the net by George Thorne.
Rovers had their chances in the second half, but Derby generally had Rovers under control, even if the home side had the majority of the possession in the early stages. Theo Robinson, on for the apparently injured Chris Brown, had Rovers' best chance, but the ball through to him bounced slightly too high to control, and the keeper had the split second to make the save.
The game was settled in the 79th minute when Chris Martin met a diagonal ball across the goal mouth to fire into the top right corner with the outside of his boot, and no matter how hard Rovers tried, there was no way back from that.
April 19, 2014
What the managers said
A defiant Doncaster Rovers manager Paul Dickov faced the press after last night's home defeat against Derby County, insisting that he still believes Rovers can stay up this season.
He said after the game: “I felt we worked very hard but lacked that bit of quality in front of goal. It leaves us with a massive game at Millwall on Monday, but we will travel in positive mood.”
He admitted: “I’m disappointed, I don’t think anybody can accuse the players for lack of effort, but when we got to the final third we lacked a bit of quality. They showed the quality they have got with the two goals they have scored."
"It was a bad time for us to concede just before the break, we felt both goals we could have prevented, in the build up to both goals with us not retaining the ball as well as we should have done. In the second half we had a go, we had a big chance when Mark Duffy put Theo Robinson in and their goalkeeper made a good save, we carried on pushing forward and they got the second goal."
"It is a big game on Monday now so we go again. We have to go down there and get a result. It's imperative that we do. We were everyone's favourites to go down at the start of the season and have been all season. But the great thing is we're in a position where it is in our own hands. It will be a massive, massive achievement if we stay up this year."
Derby boss Steve McClaren identified the two "moments of quality" when they scored goals as the difference between the sides. He told their official web site: “I think the difference was quality finishing. I was very disappointed with our first-half performance but the goal just before half-time settled us down. The second goal was a top-class finish and settled the issue. When I came here Derby were 15th and we targeted a top-10 finish. so to have made the play-offs is terrific, I can’t see Burnley slipping up, but we are happy enough to have made the play-offs with a real chance of making it to the Premier League."
"George’s goal was the best moment of the first half; we were poor and it wasn’t great to watch. It wasn’t us at all but we defended well and we told the players we needed to improve in the second half. To be fair we did offer a bit more after half-time and the substitutes gave us energy and a higher tempo. Jamie Ward was one of those and his cross was excellent for Chris Martin’s goal, which is a combination that has served us well in the past.”
April 19, 2014
Rovers hopeful Brown will be fit
Doncaster Rovers are keeping their fingers crossed that striker Chris Brown will be fit for Monday's key game at Millwall, despite him being substituted late in the second half with what appeared to be an injury.
Boss Paul Dickov revealed: Browny's hamstring has just cramped up a little bit. As soon as that happened it was pointless keeping him on, with Monday in mind."
He was also hopeful that Richie Wellens and Lucas Neill would be back for the "relegation six pointer". Both were, earlier in the week, rated touch and go for last night's game, but Dickov hinted that he may give them the extra time to recover if he felt it necessary.
Looking forward to Monday, he said: "We have to go down there and get a result. It's imperative that we do. We were everyone's favourites to go down at the start of the season and have been all season. But the great thing is we're in a position where it is in our own hands. It will be a massive, massive achievement if we stay up this year."
April 19, 2014
Season over for Heffs
Ex-Rovers striker Paul Heffernan will miss the rest of the season after suffering a groin injury while warming up for Hibernian ahead of their match against Aberdeen 12 days ago.
The 32 year old will miss the rest of the season, which is a big blow for Hibs boss Terry Butcher as they fight to avoid relegation from the SPL.
Butcher said: "Paul Heffernan has suffered a nasty one - he's pulled the muscle away from the bone and won't play again this season."
April 18, 2014
Rovers v Derby County
Doncaster Rovers go into a key weekend 'double header' of games intent on picking up points to ensure survival in the Championship.
This evening, they entertain Derby County in a match televised 'live' on Sky Sports, with the visitors needing a win to confirm their play-off spot at the end of the season.
Defender James Husband will definitely miss this evening's game after suffering a torn hamstring in the last game, while Richie Wellens and Lucas Neill will have late fitness before Paul Dickov confirms his starting line-up. Enda Stevens will replace Husband in the Rovers defence, with Dean Furman and Gabriel Tamas likely to continue to deputise for Wellens and Neill if necessary.
Tamas has been reported as fit to play, despite suffering a shin injury in the Ipswich game.
Derby could welcome striker Simon Dawkins back into the squad after missing the last six matches with a groin injury, but he has resumed full training this week. Jamie Ward returned after an injury absence and appeared as a substitute against Huddersfield last weekend and is hoping for a starting place tonight.
April 18, 2014
Tonight's match officials
The match officials for this evening's home game against Derby County have been appointed by the Football League. They will be:
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant referees: Mark Dwyer and James Mainwaring
Fourth official: Geoff Eltringham
April 18, 2014
Brown extends loan
Ex-Rovers loan defender Reece Brown has extended his loan spell at Carlisle United and will now stay with the club until the end of the season. The 22 year old former Manchester United defender joined the Cumbrians at the beginning of last month and has made seven appearances for them since then, with boss Graham Kavanagh saying: "Reece has been great to have around and he has really knuckled down and worked hard. He gives us options and we know he's a player who will add to the group. We're delighted that he has stayed with us."
Carlisle's fight against relegation from League One has been helped by a run of four clean sheets in the last five games.
April 18, 2014
Dickov confident of survival
Rovers boss Paul Dickov is confident that his side will be able to do enough in the rest of the season to stay in the Championship, but is well aware that there is a huge challenge ahead of them if that is to happen.
Rovers have five teams below then in the Championship table, but it is getting tight and one win, or one loss, could make a big difference.
He told DROS yesterday: “It doesn’t count for anything if we don’t perform, we can only concentrate on what we do here and we’ll look at other results after the game but we don’t look at results before the game to see who could do what or who can’t because you can’t predict this division and if we start doing that, we can get mentally side-tracked and we need everyone focused 100% on the job we’ve got in hand and that is the Derby game."
"We want to go out and try and play at a high tempo against what is a good side but we’re very mindful that we have to be solid at the back because they’ve got players who can hurt you and I’ll be reminding them of the games where we’ve been up against it and coming off the back of a bad run and we’ve got a reaction. If we’ve got to fight and scrap then that’s what we’ll do."
April 17, 2014
Husband faces end to season
It look as though it may be the end of James Husband's season after he pulled up with a hamstring injury in Saturday's away game at Ipswich Town.
Husband was substituted by loan defender Enda Stevens, who is likely to deputise for the rest of the season if Rovers' fears are confirmed.
Boss Paul Dickov revealed to the Doncaster Star: “James felt his hamstring just as he kicked the ball. It will be a blow for us because he’s been doing really well. He’s a top young player. This is exactly why we wanted to keep Enda Stevens until the end of the season. We didn’t want to get caught short."
Richie Wellens and Lucas Neill will face fitness tests before Paul Dickov decides whether to risk either or both of them in Friday's televised game against Derby, but is willing to wait until the vital trip to Millwall on Easter Monday if necessary.
April 17, 2014
Ingham stays on at York City
Former Doncaster Rovers goalkeeper Michael Ingham has agreed a new one year contract at York City, but is still not guaranteed to be the first choice keeper at he club next season.
Boss Nigel Worthington has preferred on-loan Nick Pope in goal for the last 16 games, with the hope that he can persuade Pope and Charlton Athletic to agree a season long loan in the summer.
In confirming the deal, Worthington told the York Press: "Michael has agreed to sign a new deal. He is York through and through and I am pleased to have a player of his stature and quality on board and around the football club. He appreciates there is competition for places, accepts that is healthy and was very happy to sign the contract."
"His attitude around the club and on the training field has been excellent during the last few months and he's a big personality within the club, which you need around the place. He's working very hard on a daily basis and has got to be ready to take any opportunity when it comes along."
"Michael is a very good goalkeeper and he's up for the fight," the City chief revealed. "Whether I bring in a keeper on loan or sign one, there will be another good keeper coming into the club as well. I have sat down with Michael to explain that and that decisions will be made on performances."
April 17, 2014
Dickov's praise for Duffy's progress
Paul Dickov has praised the progress that midfielder Mark Duffy has made since joining Doncaster Rovers from Scunthorpe United in the summer.
Duffy had a slow start to his Rovers career, struggling to get in the side earlier on in the season, with the winger having to work hard on adapting his game to the more disciplined approach demanded by Paul Dickov.
The Rovers boss told the Doncaster Free Press: “Since he’s come in from Scunthorpe, he’s been fantastic. He’s grown and has grownup a lot as well. I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but he’s always been the main man and been a bit of free spirit at his other clubs, but he’s really bought into the team ethic and work ethic that I want within my squad. I believe he’s a lot better player now than when he came here and I believe he will only get better because he’s really shown maturity this season.”
April 17, 2014
Peterson returns to Rovers
Barnet have confirmed that Alex Peterson has returned to Doncaster Rovers after the termination of his loan spell at the club.
Peterson featured just once for the Bees, playing the full 90 minutes of their 2-0 away defeat to Macclesfield Town.
Alex is one of many players who are out of contract at Doncaster Rovers this summer.
April 17, 2014
Goals update
Former Rovers player Dean Shiels scored Rangers' final goal in their 3-0 home win over sixth placed Forfar on Tuesday evening. The win puts Rangers a massive 34 points ahead of second placed Dunfermline, meaning that they will achieve their second successive promotion and will play in the second tier of Scottish football next season.
April 15, 2014
Scunthorpe United 1 Rovers Youth Team 5
The youth team finished off their league season in style with another win, this time courtesy of a 5-1 win at local rivals Scunthorpe United. It came on top of last week's club record 11-1 thrashing of Hartlepool United, and means that Rovers finish the season in second place in the Youth Alliance table, with 46 points from the 22 games played.
Two goals each from Callum Terrell and Liam Mandeville put Rovers on the way to victory, with Ryan Burnyeat grabbing the other goal just before half time.
Scunthorpe United: Weaver, Cowling, Smythe, Hood; Cleminshawe, Mason, Sutton, Wootton; Burdett, Mosanya.
Doncaster Rovers: Jack McLaren, Mitchell Lund, Jacob Dawson, Alex Head, Ben Askins, Paul McKay, Liam Mandeville, Spencer Lund, Ryan Burnyeat, Callum Terrell, Billy Whitehouse
Substitutes: Jack McKay (for Burnyeat, 61), Matt Davies (for Terrell, 67), Aron Gordon (for Whitehouse, 67)
April 15, 2014
Dickov defends formation changes
Doncaster Rovers manager Paul Dickov has insisted that the formation changes implemented on Saturday were not a defensive move, with one of the ideas being one he has wanted to use for some time, but could not do due to the numerous injuries in the Rovers squad.
Rovers switched to a 3-4-1-2 formation during the game, with Dickov explaining to the Doncaster Star: “It’s a system we’ve thought about playing a few times but with the injuries to the centre halves, we’ve not had the personnel to do it. Now Gabby Tamas is back, it’s a natural position for him and obviously James Coppinger is now familiar with the defensive role as well as going forward. It’s a system we felt that could work, particularly because we wanted to get bodies behind the ball. We wanted to be solid at the back at Ipswich because we knew it would be tough."
"The players deserved plenty of credit on Saturday because we changed it after we went behind and they competed fantastically well to get in the game. It was a bit gut-wrenching to come away with nothing after the players put in that effort and desire. It gives me plenty of hope for the next four games because performances like that will pick up points.”
He continued: "We stressed to the players that it was a positive system, that we wanted to get at them and try and create things. We took it as an attacking system. I just don’t think we were allowed to play. Ipswich pressed us incredibly well from the start and we couldn’t get going. Credit to the lads because we made a real go of it in the second half. To have positive performances, you need to play positive football. We did that. That’s something as a group we’ve got to take forward.”
April 15, 2014
Voting results v Ipswich Town
The voting for the "Man of the Match" in Saturday's away game at Ipswich Town produced a much more even spread of votes than has often been the case in recent games, with the votes spread among seven different players.
The players receiving the most votes were:
1 Paul Quinn (27.27%)
2 Chris Brown (20.83%)
3 Sam Johnstone (18.18%)
We thank everyone for taking the time to place their vote. The next poll will open after Friday evening's home game against Derby County, when those attending the game, and those watching on TV, will be able to express their opinion.
April 15, 2014
Dickov - players still have future to play for
The Doncaster Rovers players have at least two things to strive for in the remaining games of the season, according to boss Paul Dickov.
There is the obvious desire for the team to avoid relegation from the Championship, and with recent results going against them, Rovers are now only three points above the drop zone.
There is also the carrot of potential new contracts, with around 15 players out of contract this summer, and which league Rovers will play in next season will obviously have some impact on the decision of which players to keep on, and what terms they can be offered.
Dickov wrote in the Doncaster Free Press last week: "A lot of players at Doncaster are playing for their livelihoods next year. We are still looking to secure our place in the Championship next season, but individually the players should be doing all they can to make sure we stay in the division because that has a massive effect on what I can and can’t do with contracts for next year."
"The same thing applies if you have nothing to play for as a team. I would be watching them even more at that stage to see what their reactions are. Are they already on the beach or are they showing me they should definitely be in my team next season? That would help me decide whether to sign other players his summer."
"The thing you are playing for constantly is to prove yourself. I demand from my players the same thing I demand from myself. I have to prove myself every day. I have to try and better myself and if I want to be successful, I have to earn that. I expect the same from them and I expect it every day."
April 14, 2014
Dickov pays tribute to injured players
Doncaster Rovers manager Paul Dickov has paid tribute to some of the players who have turned out for the team this season when they are much less than 100% fit.
He made the comments after Richie Wellens' gamble to have a pain killing injection to play against Bolton Wanderers backfired, which forced the influential midfielder to miss Saturday's game at Ipswich.
He said: “There’s been a couple of occasions this year where the players have put their bodies on the line for us and wanted to play when struggling with an injury. Richie (Wellens) wanted to play tonight and he had an injection, but it obviously didn’t work so the right thing to do was bring him off. Dean Furman replaced him and I thought he was fantastic tonight. The good news is that there’s no fracture or break, it’s just a nasty knock that Richie has so we will just have to wait for it to feel better."
He also revealed that striker Chris Brown played with a broken bone in his foot for a number of games over the Christmas period, with the striker having not missed a game since the turn of the year.
Paul continued by telling the Doncaster Star: “Richie put his hand up to play on Tuesday night and there have been a couple of occasions this season that players have put their bodies on the line for us. We’ve had lads play after injections and they’ve been fine. Chris Brown played for about four weeks with a broken foot for us earlier in the season and no one would’ve known. You hope you’ll get away with it but obviously we didn’t on Tuesday night.”
Thankfully, Richie Wellens' injury does not appear to be serious, and he should be back for the Easter weekend game. The Rovers boss said: "We’ve just got to wait and see with Richie. He got a nasty kick on the foot [at Leeds]. We’ve had it scanned and there’s no fracture there. Hopefully he’s back sooner rather than later.”
April 14, 2014
Keegan pleased with form
Midfielder Paul Keegan is pleased over how his season has gone from a personal point of view - but insists that form will not have worked unless Rovers achieve their goal of surviving in the Championship.
He told the Doncaster Star last week: “I’ve really enjoyed having that long run of games in the side this season. It’s been a real bonus playing games because there’s a lot of competition in there. I’ve had a great partnership with Richie Wellens. It’s worked well with me sitting in to look after the back four while Richie gets on the ball and gets forward. But the main purpose is to stay up. It will all mean nothing if we don’t stay up.”
On the improvement in his fitness, which has seen him miss only a few games so far this season, he added: "I did a lot of work pre-season to make sure I didn’t get injured again. It’s just be a matter of getting things right. I knew myself I needed to do something to stay injury free because I’m no use to anyone if I’m injured all the time. I’ve been doing work with Ben Rome (fitness coach) and Alex Dalton (physio) on a leg-strengthening programme to prevent injuries. The gaffer and staff will give me time in the afternoons to do these sessions and stay on top of it to prevent injuries. They’ve shown the will look after people individually and been great on that this season."
April 14, 2014
Supporters can save on season tickets
Members of the Viking Supporters' Co-operative and the Rovers Supporters Club can claim a discount of up to £40 on their season ticket for next season.
Rovers have now finished their "early bird" pricing scheme, and all prices have reverted to full price, which will remain the same until the start of next season.
With season ticket sales approaching 500 more than at the closing of the "early bird" scheme last year, Rovers are hoping that the initiative will persuade supporters to buy their tickets early, rather than waiting until nearer the start of the new campaign.
To claim the discount, supporters need to put "referred by VSC" or "referred by Supporters Club" on their season ticket application form. Supporters will have to pay the full season ticket price, but once full payment has been received, Rovers will pay the difference between the "early bird" price and the full price to the VSC or Supporters Club, who will then pass on that amount to the individual.
Rovers have not indicated on DROS that there is a closing date for this offer in the details they have published.
April 14, 2014
Lee and Clark in charity walk
Ex-Doncaster Rovers players Graeme Lee and Ian Clark are among several former Hartlepool United players to be taking part in a charity walk next month. They have pledged to take part in a three mile walk which is in aid of the Hartlepool & District Hospice, which is being organised by the Peterlee and District Lions Club, which will take part in Peterlee on Sunday, 11th May.
Those reported to be taking part include ex-manager Chris Turner, kit man Martyn Brown, physio Ian Gallagher, Kevin Henderson, Micky Barron, Mark Tinkler, Graeme Lee, Ian Clark, John Brackstone, Glen Downey, Richard Forster, Paul Baker, Brian Honour and Tommy Miller, son of Lions founder member Tommy Miller senior.
April 13, 2014
Ipswich Town 2 Rovers 1
It's going to be a tense end to the season after Rovers went down to another away defeat at Portman Road yesterday afternoon. Results of teams below Rovers now means that there is just a three point gap between Rovers and the bottom three - will Rovers be able to pick up enough points before the end of the season to stay up?
Rovers left out the injured Richie Wellens and Lucas Neill as expected, with Dean Furman and Gabriel Tamas replacing them in the starting line-up.
Yet again, a controversial refereeing decision went against Rovers - this time it was in the build-up to Ipswich's second goal, when Tamas was fouled in what boss Paul Dickov would later call a "red card" offence against an Ipswich defender.
Rovers tried to take the game to Ipswich, with Chris Brown and Gabriel Tamas being denied by keeper Dean Gerken, although Sam Johnstone had to be alert to keep out a 25 yard shot by left-back Tyrone Mings.
The first half ended goalless, and Ipswich responded by making a double substitution immediately after the break, and went immediately onto the attack. It only took a couple of minutes until the first goal was scored - with a cross in from the left being headed into an empty net by Murphy. Even though Ipswich continued to press forward, they failed to create any real scoring opportunities - and in the 81st minute, Rovers drew level from the penalty spot.
By then, Dean Furman had been replaced by Mark Duffy, and James Husband picked up a hamstring injury and was substituted by Enda Stevens.
Duffy was brought down in the penalty area, with Chris Brown sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to level the scores for Rovers.
The winning goal came amidst controversy in the 84th minute. An apparent foul on Tamas left the Rovers defender injured on the floor, with play being allowed to go on, with the ball reaching Chambers, who fired across Sam Johnstone into the far corner of the net.
Rovers had a couple of opportunities in the dying minutes of the game, with Keegan and Duffy going close, but the game ended no points going on the Rovers' tally for the season.
The "Man of the Match" voting is now open. If you would like to take part, please click on the logo to the left.
April 13, 2014
What the managers said
Boss Paul Dickov was, overall, pleased with the performance of the Doncaster Rovers side yesterday at Ipswich Town.
He told BBC Radio Sheffield after the game: "I am proud of the players and the performance they put in. We didn't just change the system once, we changed it three or four times during the game. After going 1-0 down, I thought the reaction to get back into the game was fantastic. It gives me a lot of positives going into the last four games because as an away performance that was probably one of our best today."
However, he wasn't quite as forgiving on the refereeing decision (or lack thereof) in the move which led to Ipswich's winning goal.
Paul added: “We have got back into the game and the build up to their winning goal, the foul on Gabriel Tamas is a red card. He is down on the floor and it should be a free kick, at the moment these things aren’t going for us, we feel a bit hard done by. Tamas has six studs down his shin. It is the inconsistency that is so frustrating."
"Ipswich are a fantastic club with a fantastic manager. I don't want to see anyone get sent off, but it wasn't just a foul - it was a red card. I’m sick of talking about decisions that are not going our way, we keep getting apologies, but I don’t want them any more, I would rather get the decisions."
Rovers also ought to have had another penalty, as early as the second minute of the game, according to the Rovers boss. As he pointed out: "Chris Brown should have had a blatant penalty at the back post in the first couple of minutes and then he got booked for winning the ball."
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy praised his side after yesterday's game, thinking that they just about deserved the win.
He told their official site: “It was a really hard game but I expected that and overall, I think we just about deserved it. I said in midweek that I felt Doncaster would stay up. They are always capable of getting something and I thought they had with the penalty. It was a stonewaller, a clumsy challenge from Tyrone [Mings] but he showed great character to go up the other end and have a part to play in the winner – and it was a fantastic finish from Chambo [Luke Chambers]. I know they were unhappy with the winning goal. They thought it was a foul by Luke Hyam. I didn’t think it was at first but I’ve watched it on video and it was. That’s the way it goes."
“I’d heard all sorts of things that they might do. I asked somebody if they were going to play 3-5-2, they said no, and of course they did. That caused a few problems to us and I thought they played well in the first half, it was just a scrap with not a lot in it. The changes, I think, helped and getting a goal early in the second half certainly helped. It was one of those days where we’ve had to grind one out against a team who are well organised, prepared and fighting for their survival.”
April 13, 2014
Goals review
Goals featuring former Doncaster Rovers players were thin on the ground yesterday, with only two that we've spotted.
In League Two, Iain Hume scored for Fleetwood town in their 2-0 home win over Morecambe, which virtually confirms a play-off place for the home side. Morecambe lie in an apparently safe position, but are only three points above a relegation place. Only ten points separate Mansfield Town, in 10th place, and Northampton Town, who are next to the bottom in 23rd place. Torquay are seven points adrift at the bottom and look doomed with only four games to go.
Dropping down into non-league football, Tristram Whitman scored Rainworth Miners Welfare's only goal in their 4-1 home defeat to Belper Town in the Evo-Stik League Division One (South).
Belper have already qualified for the play-offs, whereas Rainworth are 14th, with no chance of being involved in either promotion or relegation issues.
April 13, 2014
Buckley - I had to leave Belles
Ex-Rovers winger John Buckley, who until the end of last season was manager of the Doncaster Rovers Belles, has spoken for the first time of the reasons why he left the club, which was on the same day as the Belles ended their 22 year run in the top flight of women's football in England.
He left after finding out that the club's board had appointed a Director of Football without his knowledge, which he felt undermined his position.
He told the Doncaster Free Press: : “Alan Smart [Belles’ then vice chairman] and Carl Lygo [board member] came on to the pitch after the final game for a chat. During the conversation they said they had appointed a director of football which, until then, I knew nothing about. My instant reaction was ‘count me out’. I didn’t like the way they had appointed someone without me knowing. They’d gone behind my back and that was a massive disappointment. I didn’t feel like I could continue knowing they had done that. They could’ve told me about it before and I would have stepped aside. That isn’t the issue at all - it was the way it was done.”
Buckley now works at Balby Academy as a coach, and added: “It was the right decision for me to leave. I don’t have any issues with Julie Chipchase or Gordon Staniforth. I want them to come in and do a good job because I still want to see the team winning. There’s no animosity there - but there is towards Alan Smart [then Belles vice-chairman] because he didn’t speak to me about it. We were friends and I felt like he went behind my back. I won’t engage with him again.”
April 12, 2014
Ipswich Town v Rovers
Paul Dickov has two injury concerns to check on ahead of this afternoon's away game at Ipswich Town. Lucas Neill is being assessed ahead of the game after suffering a hamstring strain, while Richie Wellens only lasted half an hour of the game after trying to play with a foot injury. We expect that both will sit out the game, with Dean Furman and Gabriel Tamas deputising. Ross Turnbull, who has missed the last two games with a back strain, will be given a fitness test before the squad is announced, but he is again likely to have to settle for a place on the bench, with Sam Johnstone continuing in goal.
Apart from that, Rovers have no new injury concerns, although remaining on the sidelines as they recover from injuries are Rob Jones, Jamie McCombe, Bongani Khumalo and Harry Forrester.
Ipswich Town, who will probably include ex-Rovers midfielder Paul Green in their side this afternoon, have a doubt over left back Aaron Cresswell, who was substituted with a groin injury during their 2-0 win at Huddersfield during the week. David McGoldrick is the only other absentee with a knee ligament injury.
April 12, 2014
Dickov - Rovers can end season unbeaten
Rovers boss Paul Dickov reckons that his team could go through until the end of the season unbeaten, although they face a huge test this afternoon when they play at Portman Road.
But Rovers' games this season against the top clubs gives Dickov hope. As he told the Doncaster Free Press: “We have consistently shown that we do well against the top teams so I’m more than confident about this run. We had the Barnsley, Yeovil and Bournemouth games and everyone outside our group was saying we were going to pick up seven or nine points. We picked up one."
"After those three we had Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest, Watford and Sheffield Wednesday and people were wondering where we were going to get points from. And we went and picked up ten out of 12. Possibly the same expectation thing with the Barnsley, Bournemouth and Yeovil run happened with the Birmingham and Bolton games. But I think the next few games are going to see a similar pattern as the last six weeks or so. We’ve got five games left and I believe we can go unbeaten in those five games.”
With Rovers unfancied this afternoon, Dickov thinks the 'underdog' tag will help take the pressure off his players and pile it onto Ipswich.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he said: “There is pressure on them, but they will be going into games with a lot of confidence and on a roll after the results they’ve picked up. The pressure on Ipswich will be the expectation of getting the win. For us there is the opportunity to play with a little bit of freedom because we’re not expected to get anything. Everyone will be looking at the game and thinking it’s an Ipswich win – except us."
April 12, 2014
Today's match officials
The Football League have announced details of the match officials appointed for this afternoon's away game at Ipswich Town.
They will be:
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistant referees: Darren Blunden and Michael Webb
Fourth official: Charles Breakspear
April 11, 2014
Ticket information v Millwall
Tickets for the forthcoming away game at Millwall are now on sale from the Keepmoat Stadium's ticket office.
They are only on sale to season ticket holders, Alliance members and multi-game ticket holders until Monday, when they will go on general sale. Subject to availability, they will remain on sale until midday on Friday, 18th April.
Rovers have received an allocation of 1,049 tickets, with the prices being as follows:
Adults £23 - Senior Citizens (60+) £14 - Juniors (12-16) £10 - Juniors (11 & under) £5
Disabled supporters pay the appropriate price, but their carer (if needed) will be admitted free of charge.
April 11, 2014
Voting results v Bolton Wanderers

We received votes in favour of nine different players for the "Man of the Match" in Tuesday's home game against Bolton. Goal-scoring David Cotterill ended up as the winner, with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone again picking up enough votes to end up as the runner-up.
The players receiving the most votes were:
1 David Cotterill (28.21%)
2 Sam Johnstone (20.51%)
3 Dean Furman (12.82%)
4= Paul Quinn, Paul Keegan (10.26% each)
Thank you to everyone who voted. The next vote will open after today's away game at Ipswich Town.
April 10, 2014
Travel information to Millwall
The Supporters Club are running coaches to Doncaster Rovers' penultimate away fixture of the current season, which is at Millwall on Easter Monday (21st April).
They will leave Retford at 8:00am, Bawtry 8:15am, Harworth 8:05am, Rossington 8:15am, Hare & Tortoise 8:20am, Doncaster Royal Infirmary 8:30am and the Keepmoat Stadium at 8:45am.
Fares for the journey will be:
Members: Adults £22 - OAPs £20 - Under 16s £18
Non-members: Adults £24 - OAPs £22 - Under 16s £20
To book a place on the coaches, please phone Len South (01302 817347) or Paul Mayfield (01427 880154).
April 10, 2014
Burge in talks over new deal
Former Doncaster Rovers midfielder Ryan Burge is having talks with Newport County with a view to extending his stay at the Welsh club.
The 25 year old returned to face Chesterfield on Saturday after missing two games with a calf strain, thus reclaiming the central midfield role that he has made his own since the New Year.
Burge is out of contract in the summer, but told the South Wales Argus: “I am out of contract in the summer but the club have spoken to me about a new deal. Nothing has been sorted yet but they’ve said to me that they’re keen for me to stay, which is pleasing. I’ve enjoyed myself here and we’ll wait to see what happens.”
April 10, 2014
Saunders keen to get back
Ex-Rovers boss Dean Saunders is keen to get back into football management after having a season on the sidelines.
Speaking on Soccer AM at the weekend, he looked back on his short managerial career at Wolves by commenting: "I don't regret going to Wolves as it is a great club with great supporters and great history."
He followed that up by saying: "When you are the manager people tend to make you cups of tea and give you biscuits - so that has all stopped since I've been sacked and I'm looking well! Management consumes you and when I lose I'm so devastated I can't speak which means I have to go straight to bed and I only come around on Sunday teatime, but I am not going to let my sacking at Wolves knock me sideways. I don't regret going there as it is a great club, with great supports and great history - but I had three-and-a-half months there and I don't care what job you do you can't do it in three-and-a-half months. So I am looking to get back."
April 10, 2014
Goals review
There was only one former Doncaster Rovers player that we've noticed scoring a goal during the midweek set of fixtures. That was in the Championship, where left back Tommy Spurr scored Blackburn Rovers' second goal in their 2-0 home win over promotion chasing Queens Park Rangers, a win that keeps Blackburn in with an outside chance of the play-offs, as long as they can overcome the five point deficit.
April 9, 2014
Rovers 1 Bolton Wanderers 2
With two home games in four days, Rovers had an ideal chance to put real distance between themselves and the relegation places. But with defeat being experienced in both of those games, and results last night going against Rovers, there is just a four point cushion. Survival is still in Rovers' hands, but it does mean that points have to be picked up in the remaining games, particularly when Rovers travel to play Millwall on Easter Monday.
Rovers brought back Richie Wellens and Abdoulaye Meite after the pair missed Saturday's match due to injury, but Wellens, who had needed a pain-killing injection before the game, only lasted half an hour before being replaced by Dean Furman. Meite also seemed a little off the pace at times - and then midway through the second half, Lucas Neill suffered what appeared to be a hamstring injury, giving Gabriel Tamas the opportunity to make a return to action, complete with face mask.
The game started off with three goals in the first 18 minutes of the game, with Bolton going two goals up in the first 15 minutes, with the Rovers defence giving their opponents far too much room. At that stage, it looked more like how many goals Bolton would get rather than whether Rovers could salvage anything from the game, but Rovers did manage to claw their way back, thanks to a superbly taken free kick from 22 yards taken by David Cotterill which flew into the top left corner of the goal.
Rovers did find more space down the wings in the second half, but the front two could not shake the close marking of the Bolton defenders and had very few real chances throughout the game. But for being denied what Paul Dickov was to call a "stonewall penalty" when James Husband was felled in the area, Rovers could feel a little unfortunate to experience defeat again - but perhaps the will have enough hope from the game to pick points up in the next game.
The "Man of the Match" voting is now open, to take part, please click on the logo to the left.
April 9, 2014
What the managers said
Rovers boss Paul Dickov was clearly unhappy with a key decision by the referee in last night's match in which they were denied a shout for a penalty, and said after the game: "Why the penalty wasn't given, I haven't a clue. I've seen it back on video and it only confirms what I thought at the time - it was a stonewall penalty. That's a defining moment in the game but these decisions just seem to be going against us."
However, in the rest of the game, Dickov was pleased that Rovers bounced back from the disappointment of conceding two early goals, and commented to BBC Radio Sheffield: "In the first 25 minutes, we were so open, which has been unlike us recently and they’ve gone 2-0 up. After we got it sorted out a little bit, in the last 15 minutes of the first half and all of the second half, I thought the boys were fantastic. In the second half we played all the football, had all the pressure and sometimes when you are looking for little breaks, it doesn’t quite come. The thing that pleased me was the boys reaction, because it would have been easy to go under, but they dug in and got the goal back and possibly should have had a few more.”
Dickov also admitted his side missed a cutting edge in front of goal, adding: “Adam Bogdan has made numerous saves for Bolton today, we’ve hit the bar as-well, so creating that many chances, you expect to score a few more. But once we got to grips with it and sorted it out I thought we played very well. We started to defend like a team and showed a lot of character to get back in the match. That's what gives me confidence for the last five matches because the players rolled up their sleeves and gave it everything they had. When you have a group of players like that you've always got a chance."
Bolton manager Dougie Freedman praised his players for resisting the second half onslaught by Rovers, and for the attacking way they started the game.
He said after the match: "It was an excellent three points and I thought we deserved it with the way we imposed ourselves on the game at the start. You have to give credit to them for the way they came back at us and we had to make one or two changes to combat that."
"It was all about the first 15 minutes for me because we dominated possession. I want us to control games but it's not always possible when the other side have a say. Fair play to Doncaster , they are battling away and have got an attitude that they are not going to lie down. Towards the end, we had two glorious chances to have won the game by a few more goals and killed it off, but it was a deserved win and it was all about the first 25 minutes for me."
April 9, 2014
Injury concerns for Rovers
Doncaster Rovers had two players substituted last night due to injury - in the first half, midfielder Richie Wellens lasted just half an hour as the gamble to play him backfired. Wellens had missed Saturday's game with a foot injury, but played last night after having a pre-match injection, but must now be a doubt for Saturday's game at Ipswich Town.
In the second half, Lucas Neill came off after suffering a hamstring strain when he over-stretched for a ball half an hour from the end of the game. Initial reports suggest that his substitution was more of a precaution than anything, and with treatment he could be fit for Saturday.
Goalkeeper Ross Turnbull missed last night's game with a back strain, which also kept him out of Saturday's game against Birmingham City.
April 9, 2014
Furman faces op in summer
Doncaster Rovers midfielder Dean Furman could face a groin operation in the summer, according to a South African web site.
The 25 year old was left out of the South Africa squad for their friendlies against Australia and New Zealand, and has been struggling with the injury since returning to England after South Africa's game against Brazil.
Furman commented: "Since the Brazil game I have been struggling with an injury in my groin area. We are managing it to get me through to the end of the season and then we will re-assess how bad the damage is and if we need to have an off-season op."
He added: "If no operation is needed the advice is to use the off-season to rest as much as possible. We've got qualifiers and the AFCON next season and I want to be rested and at my peak."
April 8, 2014
Rovers v Bolton Wanderers
Paul Dickov will have three players who face fitness tests before he can name his side for this evening's home game against Bolton Wanderers.
Abdoulaye Meite and Richie Wellens both pulled out of Saturday's game against Birmingham with calf and foot injuries respectively, and both were rated at the weekend as being 50/50 for tonight's game. Also possibly in the frame for the Bolton game is Gabriel Tamas, who has had a face mask fitted to protect his broken cheekbone, with all three reported to have done 'light training' yesterday.
Some defensive assistance would be welcome after Saturday's performance, with the absence of Wellens being also noticeable.
Apart from that, Rovers have no new injury or suspension issues, with Sam Johnstone having extended his loan deal until the end of the season and likely to keep his place in the team tonight.
Bolton have no new injury concerns either, although they are without defenders Marc Tierney (broken leg) and Joe Riley (knee), while midfielders Darren Pratley (shoulder) and Stuart Holden (knee) will also be missing tonight. It also looks as though central midfielder Mark Davies will miss the game with a groin strain; he trained on Saturday morning, but boss Dougie Freedman does not think he is ready to return.
Rovers boss Paul Dickov said of tonight's game: “Tuesday night performances have been really good, so we look at that as another positive. We know it’s going to be a tough game, Dougie (Freedman) is someone I’ve known for a long time and he’s got lots of good players at Bolton but we’ve risen to the occasion when the bigger teams have played us, especially at home. We’re still seven points ahead with six games to go, if we’d asked anyone in the club, fans would settle for that position but we just need to get back to winning ways now.”
Depending on results, after tonight's games Rovers could have a ten point cushion over the bottom three - or it could be as little as four, with some teams below still having six games to play.
April 8, 2014
Tonight's match officials
The Football League have appointed the following as the match officials for this evening's home game against Bolton Wanderers.
Referee: Gary Sutton
Assistant referees: Paul Cook and David Richardson
Fourth official: David Benton
April 8, 2014
Freedman - Dickov should be manager of season
Bolton boss Dougie Freedman rates Rovers manager Paul Dickov highly, and thinks that his achievement in guiding Doncaster towards safety in the Championship is every bit as impressive as the likes of Nigel Pearson and Sean Dyche at the top of the table for Leicester and Burnley.
Freedman told the Bolton News: “You talk about managers of the year and, of course, you look to those at the top – both Nigel Pearson and Sean Dyche have done great jobs at Leicester and Burnley. But I will go on record and say if I was to vote I would vote for someone like Paul Dickov who has done a tremendous job at Doncaster."
“He has had to deal with a lot of loans and works within a low budget and has got them playing in a system that works for them. I watched their game against Birmingham on Saturday and that is a small hiccup because they could have won. He is a young manager who has done as good a job as anybody keeping Doncaster in with a chance of staying in this division."
“I don’t take this game lightly. Just because we are playing well does not mean we can just go there and think we will be fine. They have a team that are organised and the spirit was there from going up last year. There is experience in there from the likes of (Ritchie) Wellens and (Chris) Brown and Paul has added to that with players like Lucas Neill. It’s a game with one team in good form and the other on the rebound from a home defeat. It will boil down to who performs on the night.”
April 8, 2014
Jamie leaves Hull
Former Doncaster Rovers striker Jamie Barnwell-Edinboro has left his job as head coach of Hull Tigers Ladies, it has been announced.
The Hull Daily Mail has revealed that Barnwell has left the club "due to personal reasons", and has been replaced by former Irish League footballer Danny Johnson, who returns to the city after five years away playing in Ireland, with Johnson assisting manager Rachel Gay at the club.
April 8, 2014
Voting results v Birmingham
We received nominations for seven different players to be the "Man of the Match" in Saturday's home game against Birmingham City, with two defenders coming out as the leading contenders.
The players to receive the most votes were:
1 Lucas Neill (28.95%)
2 Paul Quinn (24.32%)
3 Chris Brown (21.62%)
4 Paul Keegan (10.81%)
Thanks to everyone who voted; the next poll will open in the morning after this evening's home game against Bolton Wanderers.
April 7, 2014
Wellens and Meite 50/50 for Bolton game
Both Richie Wellens and Abdoulaye Meite were rated as 50/50 to be fit enough to play against Bolton Wanderers tomorrow evening, according to boss Paul Dickov.
Both pulled out ahead of Saturday's game against Birmingham City, with Wellens failing to recover from a foot injury he picked up at Leeds last weekend, and Meite straining his calf muscle in the pre-match warm-up.
Wellens is perhaps the more likely to be fit - with his absence being noticeable on Saturday, as the Rovers midfield failed to impose themselves on the game.
Boss Paul Dickov vowed that Rovers would be going out to get back on the winning track, even though they face a rejuvenated Bolton Wanderers side who have lost just once in the last ten games and are unbeaten in their last five away matches.
Dickov said: “It was a self-inflicted defeat. All three goals were disappointing from a defensive point of view. We’ve probably had the three best chances in the game too. We’ll get a reaction on Tuesday night against Bolton,” he added. We’re still in a decent position, it could be a lot worse."
April 7, 2014
Youth Team 11 Hartlepool United 1
The youth team wrapped up their home games in this year's Youth Alliance with a comfortable home win over mid-table Hartlepool United. The youth side cruised to an 11-1 win at Cantley Park, which should be enough to ensure they finish in second place in the North East section of the Alliance.
No details are available on the game, with neither club's official sites yet mentioning the game.
April 7, 2014
Rob on the road to recovery
Rovers skipper Rob Jones is on the way back to fitness after having had surgery on his neck injury. Although he cannot resume training for a while, he is eager to get back into action, although he has conceded that he will not be compromising his recovery by attempting to return too quickly.
He told DROS last week: “The last few weeks since the operation have felt tedious at times as I have really been restricted in what I could do. I have to take it very steady and know that I will have a very busy summer ahead. I will be spending a lot of time in the gym instead of time off as I look to get my fitness back where it needs to be. If it all goes to plan I can in eight to ten weeks head the ball again; it was a serious operation and it’s been a crazy few months for me, so I have to make sure I do not compromise my rehab.”
Speaking of his operation, Rob revealed: “The surgeon was pleased with how it went and he made a lot of room where the problem was to allow the nerve to work properly instead of being trapped. I have been back to see him since the operation and he is delighted with my progress."
April 7, 2014
Dickov would like Billy to stay
Although the club will not be entering into negotiations with any players about new contracts until Championship safety has been assured, boss Paul Dickov has indicated that club veteran James Coppinger will be offered a new deal in the summer.
Paul also confirmed that he would like striker Billy Sharp to stay - but it will obviously depend on what Southampton's view on a move would be. Sharp has been virtually frozen out of the first team picture following the departure of Nigel Adkins as manager, and has one more year left on his Saints contract.
Sharp's loan at Rovers ends in May, with Dickov admitting he would like to sign the crowd favourite in the summer, telling the Yorkshire Post: “It’s no secret that everyone at the club, from the top right through to the fans, would like to keep Billy and we’d like to think he would want to stay.”
He also said on BBC Radio Sheffield: "We would like to think it could happen. He still has a year left at Southampton so it is difficult to comment about it at the moment."
April 6, 2014
Rovers 1 Birmingham City 3
The fragility of the Rovers squad became evident yesterday afternoon after the late withdrawals of Richie Wellens and Abdoulaye Meite forced Paul Dickov to make last minute changes to the Rovers line-up, and left the bench line-up looking rather weak. Wellens had been expected to be fit after suffering a foot injury, but failed a fitness test in the morning, while Meite suffered a calf strain in the pre-match warm up, which left Dickov to make the decision to switch James Coppinger to right back and bring Mark Duffy into the starting line-up.
Even so, Rovers started well and enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half, although it seemed as though they would not be able to convert that possession into goals. The visitors had half-chances, with ex-Rovers loan striker Macheda letting Rovers off the hook with a weak header.
Rovers took the lead in the 36th minute after winning a free kick just outside the penalty area. Cotterill's kick was headed back across goal by Chris Brown, with the ball coming out to Paul Quinn, who cracked the ball into the top left corner through a mass of players.
Two further superb saves by the Birmingham keeper denied Rovers extending their lead, and the score was just 1-0 at half time.
The team talk at the break clearly worked for Birmingham, who came out in the second half and exerted their influence on the game far more effectively. The key difference was that they were giving the Rovers defenders in particular very little time on the ball, forcing them into making mistakes and rushing their clearances - and the ploy worked.
In the 57th minute, with James Husband taking far too long on the ball in his own penalty area, with Macheda nicking the ball off him to calmly fire past Johnstone to level the scores. The tall Zigic fired well wide shortly afterwards, showing that his strength is in the air, not on the ground.
Rovers had, by now, lost their influence on the game, and Dickov replaced the ineffective Duffy with Theo Robinson, who struggled to have much effect on the game.
Further defensive mistakes enabled Birmingham to extend their lead, with Novak and Macheda adding to Rovers' woes. Rovers had a half chance when Sharp was denied as the game came to a close, then Robinson had the ideal chance to pull a goal back deep into added time, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper from only four yards out.
April 6, 2014
Dave Blakey
We are saddened to learn of the death in the past week of former Doncaster Rovers Chief Scout, Dave Blakey at the age of 84.
Born in Newburn, near Newcastle upon Tyne, he first represented the Army during his National Service, then went on to turn professional with Chesterfield, for who he eventually played 658 games.
After retiring from playing, he became a scout for Chesterfield, and first joined Doncaster Rovers in the 1984/85 season under Billy Bremner's management, following Bremner to Elland Road. On Bremner's return to Belle Vue in the 1989/90 season, he was installed as General Manager, and left again on Bremner's departure in November 1991.
Dave made a return to Doncaster when Dave Penney was manager, again as part of the club's scouting network.
Chesterfield held a minute's silence in his memory before their game yesterday. We would like to express our sympathy to his family at this sad time.
April 6, 2014
What the managers said
A disappointed Paul Dickov faced the press after yesterday's home defeat to Birmingham City, admitting that mistakes gifted Birmingham all three of their goals.
He told BBC Radio Sheffield: "It was definitely a self-inflicted defeat. We were one up at half-time and should have been further in front. But if you make mistakes you get punished. All three goals were individual errors that cost us dearly and we have to learn from that."
“Their goalkeeper pulled off a fantastic save from Lucas Neill to prevent us from going two nil up and we have conceded three really poor goals. All of the goals were avoidable, defensively recently, we have been very good, so that is probably the most disappointing thing. You have to give Birmingham credit, in the second half they deserved it, after they scored they went on and were the better team.
"We've got a game on Tuesday night and we will go again. We are better than that, especially at home. It's a game we should have won, but we have to stay positive and believe in ourselves. Federico Macheda is lethal in the penalty area and you just can't allow him chances like that . We should know because we had him on loan ourselves earlier in the season."
He also commented on the absence of Richie Wellens and Abdoulaye Meite: “Leading up to the game we have lost Richie Wellens and Abdoulaye Meite. We thought Richie was going to be fit, but he didn’t quite make it and we lost Abdoulaye in the warm up. They have been a massive part of our success recently and a big factor, but you cannot legislate for conceding goals like that and expect to win."
Birmingham boss Lee Clark admitted: “We were staring down the barrel at the break, especially the way the results were going elsewhere. But we changed things and the players responded really well. The way things are going, I’m thinking of asking the Football League for our final six matches to be all away from home.”
"In the second half, the overall performance both in defence and attack was very good. First half, defensively we looked solid, we just got done on one set play, attacking-wise we were a bit toothless but second half the change that I made, made an instant impact and the lads were playing more on the front foot. We scored three, we could have scored more."
April 6, 2014
Goals review
Our review of ex-Rovers players scoring yesterday begins in the Championship, where James Hayter scored for Yeovil Town from the penalty spot as Yeovil registered a rare win to overcome Blackpool 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.
Going past Frederico Macheda's brace for Birmingham City yesterday quickly, we then move on to League One, where Adebayo Akinfenwa scored in the 30th minute for Gillingham in their home game against promotion chasing Rotherham United - the visitors winning 4-3 in the third minute of added on time, with Hitchcock scoring a quick-fire hat-trick in 24 minutes to earn all three points for the Millers.
In the Skrill Premier, Nick Fenton scored the opening goal for Alfreton Town in their home 2-2 draw against Welling United, and finally in the NCEL Premier Division, Ben Muirhead scored Retford United's second goal in their 6-0 away thrashing of bottom of the table Lincoln Moorlands Railway, who now have an amazing goal difference of -177 in the 40 games played so far.
April 5, 2014
Rovers v Birmingham City
Doncaster Rovers are likely to put out an unchanged team from the one that played at Leeds United last weekend for this afternoon's home game against Birmingham City.
Richie Wellens has been passed fit, despite suffering a foot injury in last weekend's game, which led to him being substituted. Still on the sidelines are longer term absentees Rob Jones, Jamie McCombe, Bongani Khumalo, Gabriel Tamas and Harry Forrester, while Ross Turnbull, who is nearing full fitness after a calf injury, is again likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.
Birmingham City have confirmed that defender Tom Thorpe will start the game after rejoining the club on loan from Manchester United following his recovery from an ankle injury.
Midfielder Emyr Huws will have a late fitness test as he nears a return to fitness after missing the last two games with a hip injury, while Tom Adeyemi is expected to return as he has recovered from a hamstring problem.
Former Rovers loan striker Frederico Macheda is set to be given his first start in three games after scoring twice against Bournemouth last weekend.
April 5, 2014
Today's match officials
The Football League have confirmed the appointment of the match officials for this afternoon's home game against Birmingham City.
They will be:
Referee: David Webb
Assistant referees: Robert Jones and David Plowright
Fourth official: Nigel Murphy
April 5, 2014
Coppinger milestone this afternoon
Barring unexpected events, midfielder James Coppinger will make his 400th appearance in a Doncaster Rovers shirt this afternoon, with only Colin Douglas (the current record holder with 468 games), Fred Emery and Bert Tindall being ahead of him in the club records.
Douglas will be the guest of honour at this afternoon's game and will make a pre-match presentation to Coppinger, while there is talk of a minute's applause in the 26th minute (Coppinger's squad number) of the game.
Coppinger said of his achievement: “I never thought that I’d be here for that amount of time but the club’s moved forward and I’ve moved forward with it and it’s been a fantastic journey and I hope it continues. It’s been a fantastic ten years for me at the club and to play 400 appearances is a good achievement and I’m really proud."
Boss Paul Dickov - James's fifth manager at Rovers - is also full of praise for the 33 year old, and hinted strongly that he would be given a new contract in the summer.
Dickov said: “James is a model professional, not just on the pitch but how he handles himself around the place. He’s a massive example for the younger players we’ve got. We like to get the youth lads involved in first team training here and you can do all the coaching with them in the world, but the best lessons those young lads can learn are from professionals like James. We’re lucky to have him here. Every single day he’s up there with the best trainers. He’s as fit as he’s ever been, and that’s down to what he does away from here as well as his work in training."
“Since the first time we came in here, he’s been a top professional and not just on the pitch but how he handles himself off the pitch. He’s as fit as he’s ever been and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made many more appearances.”
He continued, “He’s a very humble guy and he’s not a shouter or a baller but will have his say in team meetings and he speaks to individuals and if he thinks something is wrong then he’ll come and see me."
April 5, 2014
Shields scores to seal title
Ex-Rovers striker Dene Shields scored one of Xewkija Tigers' goals as they won the GFA Division One championship last weekend, as they now have an unassailable lead at the top of the Maltese top division.
Shields struck in the 71st minute to put Xewkija ahead, and then again from the penalty spot to make it 4-2 - and consolidated his position as the club's top goal scorer this season with 17 to his name.
April 4, 2014
Johnstone extends loan
On-loan goalkeeper Sam Johnstone will be staying at Doncaster Rovers until the end of the season. The news has been revealed on Manchester United's web site - DROS is merely reporting "Young stopper to stay with Rovers subject to clearance."
However, United's web site says "Manchester United have agreed a deal with Doncaster Rovers that will allow Sam Johnstone to see out the season with the Championship club. The highly-rated keeper has earned plenty of praise since linking up with Paul Dickov's side at the end of January and featuring in 11 matches."
Their reserve team coach, Warren Joyce, commented: "It's a good test and a good challenge for him. He looks a commanding figure at Championship level and has done really well."
April 4, 2014
Copps closes in on 400th game
Rovers midfielder James Coppinger is set to make his 400th first team appearance for the club tomorrow, when he becomes one of the few players to pass the milestone.
Not only does he play his 400th game, but he also celebrates his tenth season with the club, during which time Rovers have won three promotions and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy - and he also appeared in the historic play-off final at Wembley in 2008.
Not a bad £30,000 investment by Dave Penney back in 2003!
It looked as though his time at Rovers might have been up when he was loaned out to Nottingham Forest last season, but James returned to impress, and is highly likely to earn an extension to the contract which runs out in the summer.
Amazingly, he has only scored 40 goals during that time, although the hat-trick in the play-off semi-final against Southend United will live long in the memory.
A presentation is due to be made to James to commemorate the occasion before tomorrow's game by Rovers legend Colin Douglas, who holds the club record number of appearances (468) - so James will have to stay another couple of seasons to beat that!
April 4, 2014
Rovers come clean on kit changes
Doncaster Rovers have finally admitted why the kit has been changing every season - because they can't sell enough replica kits to keep the kit manufacturers happy!
In an interview with Rovers' Director of Finance, Lee Ferraby, he confirmed: "During recent years the club has tried to negotiate with kit manufacturers about releasing a new shirt every two years. Every manufacturer we spoke to said that they could only consider this if the Club guaranteed a minimum volume of shirt sales significantly greater than what we are currently selling for it to be commercially viable for them.
" During the past four years we’ve averaged in the region of 3,000 home shirt sales per year. Ultimately if the club didn’t make the minimum number of sales then we would have to make up the financial shortfall to the manufacturer which could cost the club up to £50,000 per year."
The club have again held a vote for the design to be used by Rovers for their kit next season, which will be revealed in the next few weeks, with the new kit due to be on sale by June.
April 3, 2014
Lucas has to 'earn right' with Rovers
New Rovers defender Lucas Neill knows that he has to earn a place in the side after arriving at the club on loan from Watford just before the 'loan transfer window' closed last week.
He knew Rovers boss Paul Dickov from the time when the pair were at Blackburn Rovers, and he jumped at the chance to rejoin his former team mate, especially when it could give him the first team football that he needs to try and earn a place in the World Cup with Australia.
He told the Doncaster Free Press: “I was determined to make sure I played in England this year in the hope of getting picked for the World Cup. I’m here now and I’m really excited. I was a little bit frustrated at Watford sitting on the bench. It’s something I’m not used to."
"I’m looking forward to working hard, earning the respect of my new teammates, and hopefully getting a chance to be involved. It’s my intention to play, but I don’t expect to walk into the team. I have to earn the right to play. I need to get off to a good start in training and get to know the guys quickly. Because there’s only eight games left I have to quickly work them out, and vice versa. Hopefully I can be part of a successful end to the season with Doncaster."
April 3, 2014
Dickov up for award
Doncaster Rovers manager Paul Dickov has been short listed for the Championship's "Manager of the Month" award for March, with a run of four wins and a draw out of the seven games played giving him a chance of winning the trophy, although the heavy loss at Bournemouth could undermine his case.
He is up against Burnley's Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe of Bournemouth and Nigel Pearson of Leicester City, with the winner being announced tomorrow.
However, Dickov would take survival in the Championship above the personal award, as it would mean he has achieved the target set by the club before the season started.
However, Dickov has his eye on Saturday's game against Birmingham City, who are in relative free fall and are now below Rovers in the table. He warned: “This game has got a horrible habit of coming back and biting you on the bum. We have to re-focus and go again.”
"It’s a great honour to be nominated for the award,” he added. "We’ve had a great run of late and it’s the players who must take the credit, but we know we’re not safe yet."
April 3, 2014
Buckley praises Wellens
Former Rovers winger John Buckley heaped the praise on Rovers midfielder Richie Wellens last week, believing that he is key to the club's quest for survival this season.
He told the Doncaster Star: “I’ve said it time and time again, Wellens is an incredible player. You won’t find a better midfielder in this division than Richie, he’s different class. He’s struck up an excellent partnership with Paul Keegan who is a bit of a no-nonsense player. I like watching him play. Keegan tidies up everything and allows Richie to go on and attack and he just links up with the front two brilliantly."
“Wellens is such a brilliant player to watch. I’m really glad Doncaster held on to him because there were plenty of teams chasing his signature when his short-term deal ended, it was massively important Rovers kept him. “With Richie in the side and Billy Sharp and Chris Brown up front, Doncaster will be okay this season."
April 3, 2014
Charity run in memory of Luey
A group of ten will be taking part in the Leeds 10K run this summer to raise money for the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, the charity that was set up by Rovers striker Billy Sharp and his partner, Jade Fair, following the death of their newly born son in 2011, who had gastroschisis.
Jade is hoping to be one of those taking part in the run this year, which takes place on July 20th.
She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “After what we had been through we wanted to do something to support other families affected and help with research and that’s what the foundation does. We have a lot going on this year and it’s great to be involved with the Leeds 10K as one of our fundraising events.”
April 2, 2014
Coach information to Ipswich
The Supporters Club are running some coaches to the away game at Ipswich Town, which is on Saturday, 12th April.
They will leave Retford at 8.30am, Bawtry 8.45am, Harworth 8.35am, Rossington 8.45am, Hare & Tortoise 8.50am Doncaster Royal Infirmary 9.00am and the Keepmoat Stadium at 9.15am.
Fares for the trip are:
Members: Adults £20 - OAPs £18 - Under 16s £16
Non-members: Adults £22 - OAPs £20 - Under 16s £18
To book a place on the coaches, please phone Len South (01302 817347) or Paul Mayfield (01427 880154). Please note that anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
April 2, 2014
Barker back at Dons after Pompey sacking
Former Rovers loan striker Richie Barker has been sacked by Portsmouth as their manager, with the club hovering just above the bottom two in League Two, and with a real threat of relegation to the Conference hanging over them.
Barker lasted as their boss for just 20 games, winning just four of those, although a win on Saturday (after Barker's departure) gives the club a five point cushion of safety.
The club issued a statement that read: "We would like to thank Richie for all his work and wish him well for the future."
The Pompey Supporters' Trust, who own 51% of the club, added: "In the position we are in, we believe this is the right decision for the club. Ultimately football is a results business and we haven't seen the progress we'd hoped for under Richie. We also considered the view of our fans and decided, as a group, that this is the right decision."
Barker took over from Guy Whittingham, who was sacked on 25th November as the club have continued to struggle after the massive financial problems of recent years have led to successive relegations.
However, Richie was quickly back in harness, having accepted an offer to become assistant manager at MK Dons - he was sacked at Portsmouth last Thursday, but was on the MK Dons bench for their game on Saturday and will remain at the club until the end of the season.
April 2, 2014
Goals review
Former Rovers defender Gordon Greer scored for Brighton & Hove Albion last night in their Championship game at Blackburn Rovers. He scored Brighton's second goal as they came from 2-0 behind to draw 3-3.
Ex-Rovers striker Ross McCormack should have been on the goal list last night, but he missed a penalty as Leeds slumped to another home defeat against strugglers Charlton Athletic, whose relegation fears are now eased by opening up a three point gap above the bottom three.
Leeds were awarded a penalty kick in injury time at the end of the game, but Charlton keeper Ben Hamer saved the spot kick, meaning Leeds have won only one of their last ten games and have lost four of their last five home matches.
April 2, 2014
Sanchez signs for County
Stockport County have confirmed that they have signed Sanchez Payne on a short term contract until the end of the season. Payne was with Rovers during the last pre-season, and appeared for Rovers during a number of pre-season games, but an injury then kept him out of action for three months.
Since then, he has trained with a number of clubs to try and get back into the game.
He told Stockport's official web site: “I’m very attacking minded, I have been looking at County’s results recently and despite the solid performances the results haven’t gone their way, and I hope I can bring that attacking threat with some nice football to watch. The decisive factor in my move to County was the natural vibe surrounding the place in particular I was impressed by the team cohesion amongst the players. I like the standard of play within the side. Also with Stockport County being a massive club it was somewhere I want to be."
April 1, 2014
Dickov looks up
Boss Paul Dickov is not contemplating the possibility of being sucked back into the relegation battle - but warns that Rovers cannot be complacent, with Saturday's home game against Birmingham City now giving a good chance of putting further distance between Rovers and the bottom three.
He told the Doncaster Free Press last week: “I think you have to aim for the teams that are above you. If you catch them then it means you’re pulling yourselves away from trouble at the same time. You have to keep winning games and picking up points. A couple of weeks ago we were saying it was three teams from four to go down. Then it went to three from five and it could be as many as three from seven or eight. That’s what happens if you’re winning and picking up points. That’s all we’ve got to concentrate on."
He continued: "My aim and my mandate when I took this job was to stay in the division. We’re on target purely because, although it might sound negative, that was our aim. Everyone made us favourites to go down so the position we’re in now is a positive one. It’s things like that which drive you forward.”
April 1, 2014
Lundstram moves on loan
Everton's former Rovers loan midfielder John Lundstram has joined Leyton Orient on a month's loan. It is the second loan move of the England Under-20 international's season, having been at Yeovil Town earlier in the season, playing 16 games and scoring twice.
Lundstram is under contract at Everton until summer 2015, and even though he is a regular in England's under 20 side, he has yet to make a first team appearance for the Merseysiders.
He played 14 games for Rovers during his loan stint at the Keepmoat Stadium last season and made his Leyton Orient debut on Saturday in their 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Bradford City in League One.
April 1, 2014
Voting results v Leeds United
We received votes for seven different players in the "Man of the Match" poll for the away game against Leeds United on Saturday.
Goal scorer David Cotterill again impressed the most people as he narrowly won the vote. The players to receive the most votes are as follows:
1 David Cotterill (31.57%)
2 Abdoulaye Meite (21.05%)
3 Billy Sharp (15.79%)
4 Sam Johnstone (10.53%)
We thank everyone who took part in the voting, and hope you will contribute to the voting in the next match, which is on Saturday at home to Birmingham City.
April 1, 2014
Shrews appeal Mills red card
Shrewsbury Town have decided to appeal against the red card shown to former Rovers defender Joseph Mills in their game against Walsall on Saturday.
The club have looked at the video evidence and feel they have a strong case for having the decision reviewed.
Boss Mike Jackson told the club's official site yesterday: "We've had a look at it over the weekend, and a few other people have as well, and we feel there is a case for it to be reviewed. We've filled in the paperwork and sent over the footage which will now be reviewed and we should get an answer late on Tuesday. It would be a blow to lose Joseph for three games so hopefully the review will go in our favour and he will be available for the Stevenage game."
If the appeal is unsuccessful, a three match ban would mean Mills will miss the games against Stevenage, Tranmere and Crewe.