Liam Hoden's match preview: Bury v Doncaster Rovers
It is the hope that kills you but right now hope is all Doncaster Rovers have.
Last weekend’s devastating late leveller at Rochdale denied Rovers a deserved win and one that could really have kick-started their survival push.
Darren Ferguson refused to see the value of a point picked up because Rovers need nothing less than victory.
As they head back to Lancashire this weekend to meet Bury, Ferguson’s men are in a position where they need four wins from their final six games.
Ferguson faces a choice of system once again but despite admitting he does not like 4-4-2, it seems highly likely he will stick with it for this weekend’s trip.
Rovers lined up with a 4-4-2 diamond formation at Rochdale with plenty of success.
Key to that was the returning Luke McCullough who played superbly in a defensive midfield role.
Ferguson last week suggested he would look for a more defensive option in the midfield. “Away from home it can be different because you might play someone a bit more defensive minded,” he said. “You come under a bit more pressure.”
Bury boss David Flitcroft has been a consistent advocate of 4-4-2 but opted for a 4-2-3-1 system in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with promotion-chasing Burton Albion.
Though Ferguson expected to face a diamond at Rochdale, the hosts switched to 4-2-3-1 for the game and Rovers dealt with it very well with a diamond of their own.
However, the Scot said he would select systems and personnel for each individual game rather than looking to the bigger picture, such is Rovers’ desperation for victories.
And he certainly has a decision to make with Craig Alcock ruled out through suspension after his red card last weekend. Gary MacKenzie could return from his groin issue but his appearances have been sparse this season meaning McCullough could be forced back into defence from midfield.
Bury were tipped to be outsiders this term given a summer of big business last year but they have proven to be one of League One’s most inconsistent sides, meaning the game is certainly winnable for Rovers.
The Shakers have won just one game in nine but have drawn five.
Another stalemate would be no good for Rovers as time ticks down.
But after last weekend’s renewed effort at Rochdale, there is hope for a victory.