The Thursday Preview: Doncaster Rovers Vs Leeds United
Already identified as the game of the weekend by Sky Sports, tomorrow’s Yorkshire clásico has taken on greater significance after a simply apocalyptic Tuesday night. If Doncaster Rovers fans weren’t anticipating this one enough given the local connections and events the last time they met, Leeds’ capitulation two days ago, also within the boundaries of South Yorkshire, coupled with Rovers’ own ascension to a club best fourth in the table will have sent the Keepmoaters into a frenzy.
Viva Rovers’ Glen could hardly contain his excitement on Twitter the other night and the table has been gleefully cut and pasted at site headquarters. A 4-0 hiding at Cardiff notwithstanding, Donny have kept up the fine work of last year when they fell just short of the play offs. Blackpool are proving currently that anyone can do it and James Coppinger’s hat trick in the win over Norwich was truly a portentous moment, as much because of the last occasion the fleet footed winger last delivered a treble as for its tabular connnotations.
But what of Leeds? The issue at Elland Road is the “big club” yoke. Whoever takes the field in white and in whichever division, the players will have too much expected of them. Unlike other promotees, Leeds are cut no slack – their revival has been pronounced to be up and running, so 5-2 defeats at Oakwell simply shouldn’t be happening. Although Barnsley have been established at this level for a long time now, any win over the Elland Road club is viewed as a shock to end all shocks, and yet a balanced view should be kinder to the Peacocks.
Leeds are missing Summer signings Billy Paynter and Kasper Schmeichel as well as last year’s engine Robert Snodgrass and – of course – the departed Jermaine Beckford, now thrust into the cockpit of a Premier League attack. At the onset of their last title win at this level in 1989-90, they tumbled 5-2 to Newcastle early on and they will be far from distressed by a start that has seen them flit in and out of the Top 6. Oakwell will have been hard to swallow but the panic button should not be pushed. A vociferous away support and insurance that the home side will not be taken for granted should ensure that Leeds will be up this one. So, it’ll be 1-0 away win for me, albeit a stolen one.