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LEAGUE ONE FOCUS: DONCASTER ROVERS

2 July 2014

League One rivals Doncaster Rovers will need no introduction to the Iron.

Relegated from the Championship last season Rovers have lost three key players over the last seven days to Championship sides.

Former Iron winger Mark Duffy was the first to leave after the club’s relegation to League One activated a clause in his contract.

He joined Birmingham City, the side that coincidently relegated Rovers on the final day of the season.

Just a couple of days later he was joined at St. Andrews by David Cotterill while striker Chris Brown joined Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers, who were formed in 1879, play at the fairly new Keepmoat Stadium which has a capacity of 15,231.

They moved from Belle Vue in their new home on 1st January 2007 where they beat Huddersfield Town 3-0 in the opening game – a match which also saw three red cards handed out.

Next season Doncaster will be the Iron’s closest match with only 26 miles separating the two towns.

Rovers have become a yoyo side in recent years, floating between the Championship and League One.

The last three campaigns have seen one promotion and two relegations and the South Yorkshire club will be hopeful another promotion will be on the cards.

Now under new ownership of former chairman John Ryan and One Direction Star Louis Tomlinson, it is expected that Rovers will be one of the driving forces in League One next season.

They should have a healthy budget following the takeover – which is expected to go through next month.

Manager: Paul Dickov
Former Scottish international Paul Dickov terrorised defences for over 400 games as a player for club and country.

He was well known for his fiery temper as a forward who battled hard for his team.

The 5ft 5in man came through the system at Arsenal, where he got few opportunities in six years, with a couple of loan spells at Luton and Brighton, until he went on to have his best spells with Man City, Leicester and Blackburn.

He returned to Man City and Leicester, with loan spells at Crystal Palace and Blackpool sandwiched in between.

Another loan stint at Derby ensued before he spent a season with Leeds and then Oldham, where he made the transition into management.

He scored 119 goals in 477 appearances with eleven different clubs, totalling £1.15million in transfers, including £1m in one payment, which was paid by Man City, and he also earned ten caps with Scotland.

Dickov's first job in management came as a player/manager at Oldham, where he eventually hung up his boots and spent three years in-charge at Boundary Park.

Despite beating Liverpool in the FA Cup, Dickov resigned as his side's league form failed to pick up and he was back in employment three months later with Rovers, as he replaced Brian Flynn, who made the transition into the director of football role.

In his first season at the helm at the Keepmoat Stadium he won 12 matches, including the matches against QPR and Leicester City – who both achieved promotion at the end of the season.

He lost 26 matches and drew 11.

Key Player: Rob Jones
The former United defender didn’t have the best of spells at Glanford Park between 2009 and 2011, however, he quickly became a fans favourite with Rovers.
 
Having joined the South Yorkshire outfit from Sheffield Wednesday in 2012 Jones was swiftly made club captain by then manager Dean Saunders.

In his first season at Doncaster he played 49 games in all competitions scoring eight goals.

He used his height to his advantage and most of those goals came from set pieces.

Jones’ first goal for the Rovers came in a 3-2 Capital One Cup victory over Hull City – coincidently Dave Syers scored a brace for Doncaster during that game.

As he led Rovers to a dramatic league title all the goals Jones scored for the Rovers came at crucial times.

His goals secured another eight points for Doncaster and without them they would have had to settle for a place in the Play-Offs.

The 34-year-old’s second season at Rovers didn’t exactly go to plan despite getting off to a decent start.

Jones scored an equaliser against Blackpool on the opening day of the season – only for the Seasiders to score twice late on to win the match 3-1.

He only went on to feature in another 13 games after that, leading Rovers to four victories along the way, as his season was hampered by injury.

A back injury resulted in Jones missing two thirds of the season and with a lack of cover in defence Dickov was forced to bring in loan signings.

Last Season
Doncaster’s return to the Championship didn’t get off to the best of starts as they lost on the opening day of the season to Blackpool.

Despite beating Rochdale in the first round of the Capital One Cup their run ended at the second hurdle as they suffered a 3-1 home loss to Leeds.

Rovers only managed to win five of their first 25 games back in the second tier of English football and after a slow start it soon became clear that the season would be a struggle.

Ultimately Rovers’ season could have hinged on one game as it was only goal difference that relegated them at the end of the season.

Back in August 2013 their away fixture at Charlton Athletic was abandoned half way through due to a waterlogged pitch – despite Dickov’s side leading 3-1.

The result was annulled and Charlton won the rematch, which was played in November, 2-0 – much to the dismay of the Rovers supporters.

Rovers’ run in towards the end of the season cost them their place in the Championship – with their final win of the season coming on March 29 away at Leeds United.

One draw and six defeats in their final seven matches practically relegated them, however, it was a dramatic final day at the Reebok Stadium that saw Birmingham score two late goals to survive.

Chris Brown was their top scorer with nine goals, Theo Robinson had the next best tally with five and James Coppinger found the net four times.

Mark Duffy, who joined Rovers from the Iron last summer, played 39 games for Doncaster scoring two goals.

He scored a free kick against Yeovil Town, in a game that was broadcasted live on Sky Sports, and his second goal came in a 3-0 home win over Charlton.

Duffy would have been set to return to Glanford Park since his move to South Yorkshire, however, he has since left Doncaster after a clause in his contract was activated paving the way for him to move to Birmingham City on a free.

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