Wigan Athletic v Doncaster Rovers: Liam Hoden’s big match preview

Paul Keegan
Paul Keegan

Paul Dickov spoke of areas needing ironing out after the draw with Bury and the creases must disappear quickly as they visit hot promotion tip Wigan Athletic.

Rovers lacked control of the midfield against Bury and must look to establish it if they are to have a chance of taking anything away from the DW Stadium.

Wigan favour a 4-2-3-1 formation and there is a strong possibility they will dominate the midfield because of this, both nullifying Rovers and overwhelming them with bodies.

It has become quickly apparent that Paul Keegan’s presence for Rovers, shielding the back four, is as missed at the start of this new campaign as it was at the end of the previous one.

The lack of the breaker meant for a rather fraught afternoon for Rovers last weekend, ensuring they never really looked settled.

There remains a concern over Keegan’s fitness. And given how much he is missed when out of action, there will be a desire to not risk losing him for longer by bringing him back too soon.

Should he be left out again, the door must surely be open for Harry Middleton to come into the side in the Keegan role.

It is a position the youngster confesses he prefers and one Rovers are crying out for someone to take.

Richard Chaplow’s Rovers debut was okay, but a central pairing of him and Richie Wellens is too attack-minded. Adding a further body, sitting behind Wellens and Chaplow seems the most sensible option.

Something which could complicate matters is a potential desire to bring Nathan Tyson into the side.

Tyson offers Rovers something different, an out-ball into the channels from where attacks can be built high up the pitch rather than from deep in midfield.

Andy Williams differs on this front, relying more on straight balls from midfield either into feet or space on the edge of the box.

Tyson’s inclusion would not only give Rovers attacking threat but also potential relief, which could be vital away from home.

Dickov was sure of his starting XI a week ago. It would be a surprise if he was as assured heading into this weekend’s game.