Doncaster 'outsiders' in battle for Championship vacancy

Doncaster RLFC face stiff competition for a place in the Betfred Championship – with one rival chairman believing the application process is a two-horse race between Barrow Raiders and Newcastle Thunder.
Photo: Rob TerracePhoto: Rob Terrace
Photo: Rob Terrace

Toronto’s expulsion from the Super League means a Championship club will replace them – leaving a vacancy in the second tier.

League 1 clubs have until December 2 to submit their bids – and Doncaster have confirmed they will be applying.

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However, Barrow chairman Steve Neale has suggested that Doncaster, Rochdale and Workington will all fall short.

The application process is based on criteria such as recent on-field performance, attendance figures, finances, facilities and commercial potential.

Barrow were relegated from the Championship in 2019.

That same season saw Newcastle lose to Oldham in the League 1 play-off final after beating Doncaster in the semi-finals.

“There may be other teams that throw their hat in the ring, but I think it will be a shoot out between us and Newcastle,” Neale said.

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“Newcastle are also a great team that are doing a lot of great work too so it’s a shame we both can’t go up.

“But I feel we’re a lot more advanced than Newcastle.

"We’ve been around for 150 years and have a solid community club foundation with eight really strong local amateur clubs in the area, that have all got strong structures beneath them.

“We also have greater crowds than every other League 1 club and on a playing side we were really unlucky to go down in 2019.

"We have a lot of stability in the squad and the club so there are lots of reasons I believe we are the best candidate."

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Doncaster’s bid is likely to be centred on the stability of their Club Doncaster ownership model and their impressive Keepmoat Stadium home.

Dons chief executive Carl Hall said: “With the infrastructure we have here we believe we are a good fit for the second tier, and have a squad capable of competing at that level too.

"We are fortunate to have the support of everyone at Club Doncaster, and look forward to the decision being made and seeing where we will be playing next season.”