Doncaster Rovers v Hartlepool United: Danny Schofield hints at tactical switch

Danny Schofield is considering partnering George Miller up front when Doncaster Rovers take on Hartlepool United this weekend.
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Miller has often been deployed as a lone striker this season but was joined by new signing Caolan Lavery in attack during the second half of last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Mansfield, with the pair combining to create a goalscoring chance apiece.

Rovers are under pressure to get back to winning ways after back-to-back defeats saw them slip to fifteenth in League Two.

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Their 11-goal top-scorer Miller has also gone eight games without a goal.

Luke Molyneux could be benched against his former club.Luke Molyneux could be benched against his former club.
Luke Molyneux could be benched against his former club.

"It’s something I have considered for a long time," said head coach Danny Schofield.

"It’s not always about just playing with George and two number 10s. I’m more principle-based than formation.”

Lavery could get the nod to start on Saturday in place of ex-Hartlepool man Luke Molyneux, who is still yet to score for Rovers following his summer arrival.

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"I though Caolan and James Brown, when they came on, had a big impact on the game, particularly for the first 15 or 20 minutes,” Schofield said.

"They (Miller and Lavery) can have a strong relationship together on the pitch, as well as with the other players, so it gives me another option.

"It’s something I’ll discuss with the coaches going forward.”

Schofield insisted he didn’t have a first-choice XI if every player was available for selection.

He said: “I’ll never say ‘this is the best XI.’

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"The best XI is dependent on who the opponent is and how well the players are doing in games and in training sessions.”

On the challenge of Keith Curle’s Hartlepool, who have also lost their last two, Schofield said: “They’ll be fighting for their lives.

"I think they’ve recruited 11 players in this window, so it’s been an interesting one to prepare for as we’re not sure which ones will play.

"Maybe with the position Hartlepool are in, a few of them will be thrown straight in.”

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Hartlepool snapped a winless run at home stretching six months against Doncaster in the reverse fixture in October to climb out of the relegation zone.

They go into this weekend’s clash just one point above the bottom two.

Their defensive record is the division’s worst and they have picked up just eight points on the road this term.

For Doncaster, this will be the first of five games in 14 days, which could go a long way to deciding how their season pans out.

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They are currently five points off the play-offs with a game in hand on Swindon and Bradford in sixth and seventh respectively.

Schofield said: “I have full belief in this group of players that we can win games and move up the league, but we have to tidy up in certain areas.

"If you look over the 12 league games that I’ve been head coach, it’s clear there’s a consistent area of how we are conceding goals and where we’re conceding goals.

"Overall, I’ve been really positive about performances but there is a big area we need to improve on.”

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Rovers’ defensive record is among the worst in League Two and their poor goal difference, which currently stands at -8, could prove costly should the play-off race continue to be tight and they find themselves in the mix come May.