Opposition view: How Blackburn Rovers are shaping up ahead of Doncaster Rovers' visit on Saturday
The start of the 2020/21 season is upon us and Doncaster Rovers have been presented with a testing opener as they visit Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
The Lancashire side have seen a quick turnaround between campaigns, having completed the restarted Championship only a month ago.
We spoke to Rich Sharpe of the Lancashire Telegraph for the lowdown on Tony Mowbray’s side.
Q: How are Blackburn shaping up ahead of Saturday?
RS: They’re hopefully announcing a goalkeeper this week because at the minute they don’t have a senior keeper on their books. That’s one of the priorities.
But because he’s coming in from Belgium, he will have to quarantine and won’t be available. I would imagine Andrew Fisher will play in goal. He played in the EFL Trophy during the League One season but this will be his first proper senior outing.
They had a keeper on loan last season, from Brighton, and he played every game. And they also had centre half Tosin Adarabioyo on loan and he played every game he was fit so those are two areas where they’ve been focusing on filling.
Stewart Downing hasn’t signed a new contract and Danny Graham was released so they’re moving away from the side that got promoted a few years ago and trying to bring some new faces in.
They will be light at centre half which is probably why the game was brought forward because Darragh Lenihan has been called up for the Republic of Ireland.
Apart from Bradley Dack, who is still six weeks away, everyone else on the books is fit.
They should have been playing Bolton on Saturday in a friendly so it will be more of a competitive game than they would have had. But they’ve been back in training less than two weeks so they’re still feeling their way back in.
Mowbray has always taken cup competitions seriously since he’s been at the club so they’ll be looking to go through.
Q: What are the aspirations for the coming season?
RS: They consolidated in the first year after promotion and then finished 11th last season. I think the expectations for this season will be to finish in the top six or at the very least give it a more sustained push than they have done since they came up.
Q: What can Doncaster expect in their first game behind-closed-doors?
RS: There is all the acclimatising to the procedures that you have to go through currently. I think that is just as big for clubs to get used to, playing without fans on a matchday.
Q: What system and style of play does Tony Mowbray favour?
RS: Pretty much in his time they’ve been exclusively 4-2-3-1 but a lot of that has been to accommodate Dack. While he’s been out, they’ve gone with a 4-3-3 and have done in pre-season.
When they got promoted from League One they realised they couldn’t play the tippy-tap stuff in the opposition half and with Danny Graham up front. But now they are trying to play out from the back more and be more possession based, which I think they’ve realised they need to do if they are to compete at the top of the Championship.
That will be difficult having lost Adarabioyo and Downing, who were two of the best footballers at the club. It’ll be interesting to see how Mowbray implements that without those two but he’s certainly looking to play more football.