Doncaster Rovers v Millwall: Paul Goodwin’s verdict

Rovers' El Hadji Diouf scores against Derby. Picture: Andrew Roe
Rovers' El Hadji Diouf scores against Derby. Picture: Andrew Roe

DONCASTER have to deal with great expectations this evening as they prepare for the final chapter of a remarkable season.

The onus was on Rovers to beat Derby County at the weekend but they seemed to be hampered by the removal of the underdogs tag that saw them revel against West Ham and Reading.

Dean Saunders’ men have raised expectations after the intense performances during the recent five-game unbeaten run.

Hopefully, they have not ran out of gas as they head for the final straight - and Saunders denied that tiredness was to blame for Saturday’s no-show.

He said the issue was a mental thing. He may have a point.

Whenever Rovers have been expected to win at home this season, against the division’s lesser lights, they have typically come up short.

They have had to settle for home draws with Bristol City, Coventry City, Watford and most recently Peterborough United - results that might cost them dearly come April 28.

Conversely, Doncaster saved three of their best home performances for three of the better sides in the division: Southampton, Leicester and Cardiff.

When the pressure is off, Rovers come out and play.

When the pressure is on, at least at the Keepmoat Stadium, Rovers arguably go into their shells.

Tonight Rovers face a pressure cooker game on par with the trip to Nottingham Forest earlier this month - another massive six-pointer.

Saunders’ side were compact, well organised and counter attacked with gusto at the City Ground. It was the perfect away performance.

With the pace of Kyle Bennett and craftiness of El Hadji Diouf, there’s an argument Rovers are more suited to catching teams on the break.

At home, however, when teams sit deep and the onus is on Doncaster they have less success.

Fans expect a better performance tonight. The minimum requirement is more energy and graft than they saw against the Rams.

Doncaster expects.

Those great expectations are tempered by Rovers’ refusal to do things the easy way in the games that matter at home - but victory tonight would go a long way to ensuring a final twist in the story of 2011/12.

Prediction: Rovers 1 Millwall 1