Opposition view on Doncaster Rovers' next opponents Fleetwood Town

Like Doncaster Rovers, this weekend's opponents Fleetwood Town have slid from perennial play-off contenders to relegation strugglers during 2021.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 10:19 am

So what has happened at Highbury to spark the decline?

We spoke to Tom Sandells of the Blackpool Gazette to get the lowdown on the Cod Army.

Q: Having previously been one of the strongest sides in League One, what have been the reasons for the decline of the last couple of seasons?

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Former Rovers defender Danny Andrew has been enjoying an excellent season for Fleetwood Town despite the side's struggles.

TS: There has been quite a bit of change at Fleetwood of late, they have had three new bosses since Joey Barton left sporting a very strong squad and they have also changed their approach in the transfer market. In the past you could expect at least a couple of marquee signings at Highbury per season, that is no longer the case. They have their approach and are spending less. Some of their better talent have either been moved on due to age, such as former club captain Paul Coutts, or have moved onto pastures new, such as Paddy Madden, Ched Evans and Wes Burns.

Q: How big is the concern over the threat of relegation?

TS: The concern over relegation is very real, as it would be for any club near the bottom end or that end up in the relegation zone. Fleetwood have worked very hard to come from non-league up to the third tier and will not want to run the risk of dropping back into League Two. The football league is unpredictable too, who knows how long it could take to return to League One or what would follow relegation.

Q: There's a couple of ex-Rovers players on the books, Danny Andrew and Brad Halliday. How have they been getting on this season?

TS: Danny Andrew has been having a brilliant season and has been arguably Town's best player so far this campaign. For any Rovers fans interested in him and what he's up to, it's worth checking out some of his goals this season. He has been running his own goal of the season competition and is deadly from free kicks. He's been playing either at left back or on the elft side of a three but his technical ability always shines through. Unfortunately for Brad Halliday his season ended very quickly. He suffered an ACL injury and was ruled out for the season early on.

Q: What system and style of play does Stephen Crainey favour?

TS: Crainey has so far gone for a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 depending on how you look at it. He's been the U23s head coach in the past so his style is one filled with energy. He wants to press, he wants to be on the front foot where possible.

Q: Who are the players to watch?

TS: Danny Andrew is certainly a player to watch if there is a dead ball, I'm not sure anywhere is out of his range either. Paddy Lane has been very bright this season, making the step up from non-league. He is a creative player that likes to play killer balls and make things happen. Jay Matete is another bright young player that can certainly catch the eye. For his age he makes things look easy at times and he has his suitors higher up the pyramid.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.