Date:Wednesday August 20 2008
Rangers take on Doncaster Rovers this weekend, here we get a fan insight in what we can come to expect from the Championship new boys.
Vital Doncaster editor Dazza71 divulges about his beloved Rovers, and gives Rangers fans an idea of what to expect on Saturday.
Following the elation of promotion against that side down the road, what were your expectations/aspirations for the season?
I am a realist and would be quite happy with staying up this year, we do have a lot of momentum over the last five years so you never know what we can achieve. I cannot kid myself though there are some top quality sides in this Division.
What additions have you made in the summer and how have they bedded in?
Non are really playing, Matt Mills joined from Man City but he`d already spent the vast majority of last season at the Keepmoat so we already knew we were getting a quality defender. We didn`t make a vast amount of signings over the summer, Van Nieuwstadt came from Holland and has been used as a sub late on in the Derby game. James Chambers has been used in both League games as a substitute late on, John Spicer came from Burnley and as yet to feature in The Championship.
The biggest loss so far as been Darren Byfield who needed a hernia operation soon after joining from Bristol City. He`s expected to be out for another two weeks and his experience of this level and goals could be vital.
Your club has come a long way in recent years, who have been the key figures in this rise through the leagues?
You can single out one man and that`s the chairman John Ryan, every smaller club needs a man like this who has the money to back up his promises. He`s taken us from the brink of extinction to the Championship (which is what he promised when he took over!) in ten years. We are also now playing in a wonderful purpose built stadium (another of his promises).
On the playing side, Dave Penney did an excellent job as manager winning the Conference play off final and fourth Division Championship in successive seasons. We also had a fantastic League cup run under him, we came within penalty kicks of knocking Arsenal out of the Quarter Finals having already disposed of Man City and Aston Villa.
When he was replaced by Sean O`Driscoll in 2006 all Rovers fans said was "Sean who?" The man not only took us to the Millennium stadium and success in the Johnstone Paints Trophy final but also fulfilled John Ryan`s dream by taking us to Wembley and beating Leeds United in the League One play off final.
You moved from Bell Vue to the Keepmoat a few years back, how has that move helped or hindered your side?
I am originally from the Belle Vue area of Doncaster and spent most of my childhood around the ground. It holds some great memories over the years including a famous FA Cup win against you in 1984. The ground was well past its best though and if we were to move forward as a club we needed a new stadium. We now have fantastic facilities, play in front of larger crowds and most importantly we can now attract a better standard of player to the club.
Moving forward to Saturday, who do you feel Rangers should watch out for from your line-up?
We like to play football and play it to feet. We have a team confident of doing this. The biggest problem for most clubs who come up against us is we do not play a rigid 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, the players can rotate and play across the park especially around the middle and top area of the pitch.
Richie Wellens in midfield is our engine, breaking up play and attacking the opposition. I still feel we are pretty lightweight for this Division at the attacking end of the pitch even though Lewis Guy is full of confidence after two goals in two games.
Who do you fear most from Rangers the Rangers line-up?
You have obviously brought in quite a few players over the summer so you have a great squad. Quite a few foreign players that I have never seen or heard of have joined you so I couldn`t comment on them. I really like Mikele Leigertwood and when he`s on form looks hard to stop. Dexter Blackstock looked like he was going to have a great career when he first came on the scene a few years ago. He`s not yet fulfilled his potential but could cause us problems at the back on Saturday.
What sort of football have Doncaster been playing of late?
We have a great reputation for playing football and not just hoofing it up the field. Last season I don`t know who came up with it but we earned the nickname 'Arsenal of League One` because of the way we passed the ball around. We played Derby off the park on the opening day and by all accounts we were unlucky to not get the three points against Cardiff on Saturday.
Finally - What is your prediction for Saturday?
I am sure Ian Dowie will want a response after your heavy defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday.
Rovers go into the game full of confidence after a good start but I do feel you are going to be hard to beat at Loftus Road this season. With so many new players over the summer it could be a good time to be playing you whilst they all settle in at the club, so I will be hoping we can come away with at least a point in a 1-1 draw.
Vital QPR would like to thank Vital Doncaster and wish Rovers all the best beyond Saturday
Thorpe Referee`s Doncaster Fixture.
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