Preview: Doncaster Rovers v Scunthorpe United - Derby can be ideal tonic for downtrodden Rovers
Darren Ferguson feels Sunday's derby clash with Scunthorpe United has come at the ideal time for his beleaguered Rovers side.
Rovers suffered injury time heartache on Tuesday night when they started added time against Rochdale 1-0 up but finished the game 2-1 down.
When it comes to the bitter disappointment over the conclusion to the game, Ferguson says the derby with bitter rivals Scunthorpe could provide the best tonic for getting through the current sticky patch.
“I don’t think there could be a better game on Sunday than a derby against Scunthorpe.” he told the Free Press
“I think we go into that and try to make sure we win the game.”
Scunthorpe – who typically line up in a 4-4-2 – have won three of their seven league games so far, losing only once – against a resurgent Blackburn Rovers in midweek.
Ferguson is expecting a difficult game against a side that reached the play-off semi-finals last year.
“They’re very organised and they’ve got good experience, particularly down the middle of the pitch,” Ferguson said.
“It’ll be a tough game. They’ll bring a lot of fans.
“So we need to see the commitment that we’ve always seen but there will be a battle on Sunday and we need to be mindful of that and make sure we deal with it.
“We have to make sure we try to play our football when we can.
“I think, playing that game, getting the win, it’s all I can look forward to.”
Rovers improved in tough conditions at Rochdale but their disappointing and frustrating run of form continued courtesy of the remarkable injury time turnaround from the hosts.
Ferguson insists there is no time for the licking of wounds and focus must immediately switch to Sunday’s derby clash with Iron.
He said: “It can be a horrible game, football. It can be really harsh.
“But the most important thing is that you pick yourselves up quickly.
“You don’t have time in this game for us to feel sorry for ourselves.
“There’s not time for saying it should have been him or him.
“As a group, we need to stick together.
“The last two defeats have been hard but at Rochdale I saw full commitment from my players, as I generally always see.”
Tommy Rowe misses out with a hip injury, while Issam Ben Khemis will almost certainly drop out after getting hooked in the first half at Rochdale.
Probable: Lawlor; Mason, Wright, Butler, Garratt; Houghton, Whiteman, Blair, Coppinger; Williams, Marquis.
The last time these sides met, in March 2016 at Glandford Park, is not a match anyone of a Rovers persuasion will care to remember. But it is one hard to forget.
Rovers were atrocious as they were undone by goals from Tom Hopper and David Mirfin - and went on to lose their League One status.
The Iron did the double over Doncaster that season. Prior to that Rovers had won the last seven meetings between the two sides.
Midfielder Josh Morris took a bit of stick from the Iron fans early in the season - he responded with four goals in five games.
Rovers 7/5 Draw 12/5 Scunthorpe 19/10
BUCKY’S CHARITY BET
Rovers to win and both teams to score