A brace from Steve Morison sandwiched Lee Gregory’s 20th goal of the season last Saturday, as Millwall convincingly beat Peterborough United 3-0. This weekend, the Lions are back on the road, as they take on Doncaster Rovers. Paul Goodwin, sports writer for the Doncaster Free Press and Sheffield Star, takes on ‘The View From The Opposition’ ahead of the game…
Name: Paul Goodwin
First Doncaster game: Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, November 25th, 2006. My one and only experience of Belle Vue – a few weeks later, the club took up residence at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Greatest moment following Doncaster: The League One play-off final win over Leeds United at Wembley in 2008 takes some beating. But, for me personally, I will never ever forget the way Rovers won the League One title in 2013, at Brentford on the final day of the season. The Bees missed a penalty in stoppage time that would have put Rovers into the play-offs – eighteen seconds later, James Coppinger scored at the other end to seal the title. It was utter madness and I doubt I’ll ever see anything like that ever again on a football pitch.
As we head into the final couple months of the season, Donny sit just above the relegation zone – do you feel they have enough to remain in League One next season?: They really ought to. This club should be challenging at the other end of the table, but the depth and quality of the current squad is not as strong as it looks on paper. When Rovers are at full strength and firing, they will give anyone in this division a run for their money.
When injuries hit and the going gets a little tougher, they have come up short. I expect them to keep their heads above water, but it has been another season of underachievement at the Keepmoat.
Former Lions Richard Chaplow and Dany N’Guessan (as well as former loanee, Nathan Tyson) currently ply their trade at the Keepmoat – how have they been getting on this season?: Chaplow looked like a solid addition in the summer, but it just hasn’t happened for him on the pitch. He’s struggled to hold down a regular position and has found himself in and out of the team. N’Guessan initially appeared to offer a bit of pace and power that was lacking in the final third, but he has rarely featured under Darren Ferguson and has been hampered by injuries.
When Tyson plays well, Rovers tend to play well. He’s emerged as a bit of a key man this season, but unfortunately, he has missed sizeable chunks of the campaign through injury.
Millwall are in 5th position – how do you view their chances of promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt?: I’ve not really seen enough of Millwall to comment, but recent results suggest they might have timed their run into a bit of form very well. Like Doncaster, they seem to enjoy playing away. Sort out the home form and it’ll be a top six finish for the Lions, minimum.
Who are Doncaster’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday?: Young midfielder Conor Grant, on loan from Everton, has a touch of class about him. After returning from a rib injury, he was below par at Barnsley last weekend but, on his day, he can provide a bit of guile and control in the middle of the park.
Tyson, too. Expect him to work his socks off up front and put Millwall’s defenders under pressure with his closing down.
Which Millwall players do you think your side will need to watch out for?: I’ve always been quite impressed with Steve Morison when I’ve seen him play. He’s a bit of a throw-back in terms of his physical presence and he knows how to finish, too.
Finally, how do you see the game going?: With Rovers without a win in seven and Millwall coming into this having won four of their last five, the form book clearly says away win. Rovers are under pressure to get a result here.
However, I’ve been informed that Millwall have a slight tendency to maybe let a little complacency creep in from time to time. For that reason I’m sitting firmly on the fence and going…
Score Prediction: Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Millwall.
Paul’s Team Prediction: Stuckman; Alcock, McCullough, Taylor-Sinclair; Lund, Keegan, Grant, Coppinger, Evina; Tyson, Williams.
Doncaster Rovers take on Millwall at the Keepmoat Stadium this Saturday, February 27th. Kick-off is at 3pm.