Paul Goodwin: Here’s the stat which underlines Doncaster Rovers’ underdog status – but they were underdogs in 2008 too!

No one fancies us, we don’t care!

Friday, 10th May 2019, 5:00 am
Doncaster Rovers celebrate beating Leeds United in the League One play-off final in 2008.

There won’t be many pundits or punters tipping Doncaster Rovers to beat ex-Premier League sides Charlton Athletic, Portsmouth and Sunderland to the final promotion spot.

But very few people expected them to finish in the top six in the first place – something which clearly motivated Grant McCann and his squad.

And here we are now.

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Rovers stand on the brink of achieving something very special. But they will undoubtedly have to overcome the odds – and the form book – to win promotion back to the Championship.

If there is one statistic that underlines Doncaster’s underdog status then it is this one...

Out of their 20 league wins, only four of them came against sides who finished in the top half of the table: Luton Town (2-1 H), Peterborough United (3-1 H), Blackpool (2-0 H) and Coventry City (2-0 H).

‘Flat track bullies’ is a tag which sounds harsh but on that sort of evidence it does seem fair enough.

Notably those four wins all came at the Keepmoat Stadium, which only highlights further the importance of Sunday’s first leg against Charlton Athletic.

You feel that to have any chance of going to Wembley, Rovers will need to take at least a one-goal lead to the Valley.

Statistics might suggest that the probability of Rovers winning promotion is low but the truth is that anything is now possible. Previous results count for nothing. Who wants it more? Who can handle the pressure? Who can perform when it really matters? Grant McCann’s men are three good performances away from the Championship and they’ve shown over the course of the season that they are capable of producing them.

Rovers also have an excellent recent record of winning finals; the Conference play-off final in 2003, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final in 2007, the League One play-off final in 2008.

No one really fancied them to beat Leeds United did they? And look what happened that day.