League One Gameweek 22: Derby Day Delight For Deadly Doncaster?6 min read
Last season, Doncaster Rovers were looking over their shoulders in League One while Scunthorpe United made the play-offs, losing in the semi-finals to Rotherham, but the tables have turned this term.
While Scunthorpe are languishing four points above the relegation zone, Doncaster are outside the top six only on goal-difference and manager Grant McCann, a Glanford Park legend in his playing days, will relish the opportunity to face his old club…
McCann’s troops won 4-0 at Bristol Rovers last time out; a result that showed their ability to score goals in different ways.
John Marquis, an advanced striker so often credited for his work rate, hold-up play and goalscoring nous, showed an ability to contribute from deeper areas with a wonderful strike from distance at the Mem.
Then, in the second half, we saw the pace and power of Mallik Wilks come to the fore on the counter-attack; the Leeds loanee grabbed a brace and proved the game’s stand-out performer.
📊MOTM | With 42% of the vote, you have chosen @MallikWilks as your Twitter Man of the Match after his brace in our 4-0 win away at @Official_BRFC in @SkyBetLeagueOne on Saturday. #DRFC #BRIDON pic.twitter.com/S3Uv47zhQW
— Doncaster Rovers FC (@drfc_official) December 9, 2018
Ali Crawford and Herbie Kane offer quality from wide roles in that midfield diamond, with technician Benjamin Whiteman dictating play from the base and the evergreen James Coppinger linking play in a more advanced role with delicate through balls.
Rovers did have to withstand spells of pressure in that match, allowing their opponents 20 shots – one of which hit the woodwork– but the fact nine of their 14 attempts were on target in comparison with three from their hosts highlights their quality.
Scunthorpe not-so cast Iron
Scunthorpe United appear to have a lot of problems.
After a run of eight defeats in their last 10 league games, fans are beginning to fear a battle against the drop.
Over the previous two seasons, chairman Peter Swann had invested plenty of his own money to try to help the club win promotion to the Championship.
With home attendances of around 4k however, they cannot continue to compete in the market with the biggest clubs in this division at a sustainable rate, so in that sense cut-backs were inevitable.
That has had an impact though on the team’s on-field performance with defensive problems re-occuring.
Rory McArdle excelled at Bradford when alongside a more dominant centre-back in terms of leadership; a role that Charlie Goode and Cameron Burgess are both yet to fulfil.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – who some Manchester United fans might recall from the Louis Van Gaal era – offers quality from left-back but perhaps does not quite have the extra determination that we have seen from previous incumbents of that position.
Throw in the difficulties Jordan Clarke has had in replicating the form he produced under Graham Alexander, goalkeeper Jak Alnwick’s inconsistency and the injury to composed sitting midfielder, Funso Ojo and there has been chronic instability at the back.
It does not help, too, that their brightest attacking talent, Ryan Colclough, is out for the season, leaving Lee Novak to carry the goalscoring burden.
The industrious front-man has bagged twice in his last four league games, with midfielder Matty Lund being the only other Scunny player finding the scoresheet – and that was via a fortuitous deflection.
Goals for the hosts?
Donny have bagged three or more goals in seven of their 21 league games this season; their visitors have conceded at least three in eight of the same number of matches.
Those combined statistics would indicate a 36