Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson wishes he could get his boots back on for tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated South Yorkshire derby at Rotherham United.
But the 46-year-old will have to make do with kicking every ball from the touchline at the New York Stadium - where he says his side can expect one of their stiffest tests of the season.
While Rovers have so far stuttered their way through 2018, Paul Warne’s side simply cannot stop winning.
But the matter of local bragging rights, the prospect of a sell-out crowd and the opportunity for Rovers to build on their much-needed win over Fleetwood last weekend means Ferguson is more than ready for the weekend.
He said: “These are the ones where I wish I was playing again! I’d love to play on Saturday, I’d absolutely love to.
“It’ll be a full house and 2,500 of our fans will be there.
“It’s a proper game and the early part will be blood and thunder.
“I’m really looking forward to it and so are the players. You can sense that.
“It’s one we’ve spoken about, to look forward to it and relish it. These are the games you want to play in.
“We know how important it is,” he added.
“They’re in a different position to us. They’ve found a formula to win games and it’s very effective, the way they play.
“They’re the form team in the league, six wins on the bounce. You can’t argue with that.
“We’re obviously in the middle of the pack but we’re looking to carry on from last weekend.
“What a win would do for us is give us great momentum and belief going into the last 11 games.”
The Millers have catapulted themselves into the automatic promotion race with ten wins from their last 13 games.
Rovers, on the other hand, have won just one in their last ten but Ferguson is adamant that his team have the ability to more than match their local rivals. “They’re very effective in what they do. They can put strangleholds on the game,” said Ferguson.
“They try not to allow teams a flow within the game and it’s effective.
“They get it forward, throw-ins anywhere from 40 yards are going in the box, and they’re very good at it.
“They’ve found a formula to win games with it and they’ve been very consistent generally in the selection they’ve had. They’re confident and they’re in their own backyard.
“It’s going to be a very tough game but we hope we give them one as well.
“I know that my players, when they’re on it and we get the level of intensity we got last week, will give anyone a game in this league. That’s what I’m fully expecting on Saturday.”
Ferguson hinted at naming an unchanged side from last weekend.
“I feel that the players that played on Saturday have earned the right to go again,” he said.
“I’m not saying I may [not] change something but I feel that their performance warrants probably another start.”