BIG MATCH ANALYSIS: Flexibility could be key

Chris Brown
Chris Brown

In admitting that a new striker was not his priority yesterday, Paul Dickov instantly showed his hand in terms of how his team will line-up, at least for the first few weeks of the season.

Dickov’s fluid 4-2-3-1 formation - a flashback to the good old days under Sean O’Driscoll - has been the unanimous success story of pre-season.

That was obvious as much to anyone who was at Bradford last Saturday for the proverbial game of two halves.

With one up front and three ‘floaters’ before the break, Rovers were inventful and flexible.

After it, when switching to a more traditional 4-4-2 structure, Doncaster lacked the type of ‘control’ that was talked about so much last season during their rise up League One.

The difference in the two halves probably spoke volumes about the shape which the players are happiest with themselves.

And the more fluid formation not only suits the type of players that Rovers have available - with James Coppinger, David Cotterill, Kyle Bennett, Mark Duffy and Harry Forrester all capable of floating - but it offers their best hope of getting the season off to a good start against Blackpool.

The Tangerines have been 4-3-3 ever since the days of Ian Holloway but in their final pre-season friendly against Newcastle at the weekend they switched to 4-4-2.

If they opt to keep that shape on Saturday it could play into Rovers’ hands and allow them to play in-between the lines, making likely starters Coppinger, Cotterill and Duffy key men in the quest to unlock Blackpool’s defence and support lone frontman Chris Brown.

The obvious Blackpool threat will come from England Under-21 international Tom Ince on the right.

James Husband has the turn of pace to cope but Rovers will be keen to double up on Ince and nullify their main creative spark.