Match preview: Doncaster Rovers aim to avoid unwanted treble at Rochdale

Darren Ferguson
Darren Ferguson

Doncaster Rovers hope to avoid a very unwanted hat trick at Rochdale tonight.

AFC Wimbledon had not won this season before they dispatched Doncaster at the end of last month.

The same was true of Northampton Town who, having lost four out of four, caught Rovers cold at Sixfields on Saturday in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s first game in charge.

And yes, you’ve guessed it, this evening’s opponents have also yet to win in League One this season. In fact, just like Rovers, Rochdale have not scored in their last three league games either.

It’s hardly set up to be a classic at Spotland.

But despite the disappointing performance at Wimbledon and equally disappointing outcome at Northampton, where Rovers conceded in 24 seconds and produced a flat first half display, boss Darren Ferguson remains steadfastly optimistic.

The Scot, renowned for his attacking philosophy, has given his players clear instructions for tonight, however.

“We’ve got to have more shots, more crosses, more goals - something I never really expected to say about us,” said Ferguson.

“But we need to be more like we were in the second half [at Northampton] and like we have been in games.

“You look back at possibly all three home games and they were decent performances. When you have decent performances you need to win those games.”

Ferguson is expected to make changes tonight with James Coppinger in line to return to the starting line-up and Jordan Houghton in contention for his first start since rejoining the club on loan.

Whoever starts will be expected to be aggressive on the ball.

“I feel in the second half [at Northampton] we did fine. There was a lot more urgency in our game and we were a lot more aggressive with the ball,” said Ferguson.

“That was the difference.

“But obviously there were certain things I’ve seen that I can change. One of those is personnel so we’ll wait and see.

“I feel there are some good players that haven’t been playing and have been waiting.

“But I think it’s important we don’t let the result on Saturday have too much of an effect on us.

“There hasn’t been a team better than us in the games we’ve played, I don’t think, in terms of the way the games have gone.

“All the stats are very positive towards us - apart from the main one, which is to score more goals than the opposition.

“We can’t keep saying ‘we should’ve done this’ and ‘we should’ve done that’. We need to do it.

“So there are things we need to improve on, certainly we need to be more aggressive with the ball.”