Doncaster Rovers could take another huge step towards securing a play-off spot in today’s televised clash at Sunderland (5.15pm).
A draw would not be a bad result against a side competing for automatic promotion and who have lost just three times in League One this season.
However, Rovers will fancy their chances of returning to the Keepmoat Stadium with all three – especially after watching the video of Sunderland’s 5-4 defeat to Coventry City last weekend!
Here’s how Rovers could get the most out of their first visit to the Stadium of Light….
Silence the Roker Roar
Sunderland’s huge support will be expecting to win this game after seeing their team drop five points in their last two games, both at home.
A shambolic defensive display against the Sky Blues has increased the nervous tension on Wearside.
If Rovers can start this game on the front foot, and maybe even nudge themselves in front, the home supporters could turn on their team.
Put the Sunderland centre backs under pressure
Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin will still be having nightmares about the Coventry game.
Jack Ross could change the personnel at centre back but that area of the team will still be Sunderland’s weak spot and Rovers should do everything they can to put the centre backs under pressure.
Get the ball to James Coppinger!
Luke O’Nien is an attacking midfielder who has played out of position at right back for the majority of the season – with varying degrees of success.
Coppinger should have the beating of him so Rovers need to get him on the ball as much as possible.
Win the midfield battle
Ross will be taking a huge gamble if he persists with the 4-4-2 formation that left Sunderland so open and vulnerable against Coventry.
He seems certain to switch to 4-5-1, meaning Rovers will find it more difficult to gain a foothold in the middle of the park.
Ben Whiteman could return to bolster Doncaster’s engine room and Herbie Kane’s possible duel with Lee Cattermole could have a big bearing on the game.
Do not give possession away cheaply
Rovers simply cannot afford to give the ball away cheaply against this Sunderland side.
They will look to feed their wide players as quickly as possible and create overlaps down the flanks.
Aiden McGeady will take some stopping if he is fit to play and Lewis Morgan is a very able deputy. Left back Bryan Oviedo also loves to get forward.