Doncaster Rovers: Why an FA Cup exit might not be the worst thing for Darren Moore and co

Doncaster Rovers in particular know what magic can be generated by an FA Cup run.

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 12:34 pm
Doncaster Rovers

The charge to the fifth round last season was the first in 63 years, culminating in a special day at a packed Keepmoat against Premier League opposition.

It boosted the coffers by an extra £600,000, helping fund new equipment at the training ground and providing an additional input to the club's development squad.

Defeat to Gillingham on Sunday – and a sobering one at that – means no such magic or additional income will befall Rovers this season.

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But that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

While the lack of a steady rhythm of games has been arguably the biggest gripe of management and players alike for much of this campaign, the knock-on effect could prove to be much worse for Rovers heading into 2020.

One postponed fixture from the first half of the season has already been pushed into the second – the Tranmere Rovers trip is now on February 4.

And time is running out for the Shrewsbury Town fixture to be rearranged before the end of December, while the Bolton Wanderers saga remains in the hands of the EFL.

Portsmouth’s progression in the FA Cup does mean the weekend of January 4 will be another blank one for Rovers – ensuring another fixture to rearrange, and resulting in a very long midweek away trip.

But that free Saturday will likely be welcomed after a very busy festive period.

Rovers are already in the midst of a run of three matches in seven days. From Boxing Day onwards, they will have another.

This is a squad that remains light on senior bodies, one that will be pushed to its limits over the next month.

The opportunity to breathe a little in early January and a chance to work on any on-field issues that have cropped up over the festive period will never be turned down.

Financially, Rovers will have taken a slight hit from the exit. A profit from cup competitions is budgeted for each season – last term is was for around £220,000.

With Rovers exiting the Carabao Cup at the first round stage and now falling at the second hurdle in the FA Cup, any such similar figure is unlikely to be achieved – though a run to the latter stages of the Leasing.com Trophy would certainly help.

But there is never any betting of the house on cup progression – the club are much more sensible than that.

So while the lack of a game to wash away the January blues might irk some supporters, it might be better in the long run as Rovers get ready to deal with the frustrations of the first half of the campaign.