No surprise for Darren Ferguson that Doncaster Rovers are flying

It is a small quirk many of us do when the fixture list is published.

By Liam Hoden
Wednesday, 06 February, 2019, 21:12
Darren Ferguson

After scanning through key dates, looking when big derbies fall and that big away trip will come around, there is a quick glance at who your team are planning around your birthday.

It turns out former Rovers boss Darren Ferguson is no different.

So a wry smile came across his face when looking at the games on February 9 - the day of his 47th birthday - he spotted two of his former teams were set to go head to head.

"I always look at the fixtures around my birthday," Ferguson said.

"I did it this season even though I wasn't at a club and chuckled when I saw Posh were playing Donny.

"My wife said it won't involve you so why are you interested?

"It's strange the way things works out and I'm looking forward to going back."

Back then, Ferguson had little idea just how significant February 9 would be, or where he would be on that date.

It all changed on January 26 when he accepted the call to manage Peterborough United for a third time.

And his third game in charge, this weekend, will see him return with Peterborough to the Keepmoat for the first time since his unexpected resignation as Rovers boss last summer.

There may be a lack of true clarity on the reasons for his departure, but Ferguson reiterated he needed a break from the game, particularly after his father Sir Alex took ill.

And he looks back on his time at Rovers with fondness.

"Donny are a great club," Ferguson said. "It was obviously a disappointment to get relegated that first season there, but we got promoted straight back and consolidated in League One.

"This season was always going to be about promotion, but I needed a break from the game so there were no hard feelings on either side for my decision in the summer.

"I was tired and the situation with my father didn't help."

Saturday's game sees sixth play seventh in League One, with Rovers having the opportunity to go back into the play-off positions with a victory.

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Though last season was one of consolidation under his tenure, it is no shock for Ferguson that Rovers are enjoying a much better campaign.

"I'm not at all surprised they have done so well this season," he said. "They've got a real togetherness with players who have been together a long time, but Grant has added some excellent loan players.

"Kane and Wilks in particular."

Adding further to the story of his fixture is that it will pit former Rovers boss Ferguson against former Peterborough manager Grant McCann.

The two have a storied history, with McCann having been a key player under Ferguson in his previous spell at London Road.

"Me and Grant go back a long way," Ferguson said."He was a top player for us when we last got into the Championship, scoring in two play-off semi-finals and the final.

"Obviously I've come up against him before.

"Donny and Posh drew twice last season and there was nothing between the sides.

"I watched the game between the teams at Posh this season when they drew again, but Donny were the better side. They played well that day.

"Whatever happens Saturday I'm sure me and Grant will have a glass of wine together afterwards.

"He's at a top club. Good football people with a terrific stadium."

Having won just twice in their last 11 League One matches, Peterborough are in need of a result to restart their promotion push.

But Ferguson insists Saturday's game is not the be all and end all for his side.

"A lot of Posh fans are travelling so we want to give them a good result," he said.

"It won't be easy. It's a big game, but the result won't define the season no matter who comes out on top.

"Both teams have a lot of games left and there are always twists and turns towards the end of a season."