The Opposition View: Doncaster

Donny fan Adam Stubbings gives us the lowdown on his team and his views ahead of Saturday's game.

The bookies had Doncaster as one of the pre-season favourites for relegation but you've had a good start to the season. Is a play-off push out of the question?

Definitely not. We're a very good footballing side on our day, know how to pass the ball around and score goals. There's some optimism here that a top 6 finish is well within our capabilities, but the defence is proving to be a real weak point.

There is no settled back four due mainly to injuries, and the level of quality in that set of defenders is not really good enough. The attack is making up for it a fair bit of the time at the minute but there's a long way to go before the back line matches up. Until that happens I can't see us securing a top 6 finish, but it is not out of our reach.

What do the Rovers fans think of Sean O'Driscoll?

He's revered as a legend by the majority of the fans. He was a very unpopular choice as manager when appointed some 4 years ago now, especially with names like Kevin Keegan being linked, but after a bit of a slow start he has managed to build a fantastic side, got us promotion as well as a Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory and he has improved each year since being appointed.

There was a lot of anxiety from the fans when O'Driscoll was nearly poached by Burnley last season. He's a fantastic manager and an all-round nice guy who knows how to play the game properly.

Donny are said to play some attractive football, would you agree with this?

I would agree with that, we play fluid passing football and when it is done right it often reaps rewards. Usually you find we need to match the quality of play with the right tempo, otherwise we can get bogged down and stuck for ideas.

The key to our success is the midfield, if everybody is on their game in the middle then we usually play very well and pick up the points. More and more teams are getting good at stopping them from doing that though. The likes of Derby and Nottingham Forest have done a very good job of that recently.

Who are the key players in the
Doncaster side that Pompey fans should watch out for?

With top scorer Billy Sharp out injured, the responsibility to put the ball in the net falls to David Healy. He has impressed so far in two games, scored the winner on his debut and looks like a committed player in the same mould as Sharp. His link up play with James Hayter will be vital to our goal scoring chances. Hayter has 3 goals in his last 3 and is a very important player as he links up the attack to the midfield superbly and he works harder than anybody else on the field.

James Coppinger will also be a big threat to Portsmouth, his creativity and flair out wide always causes problems for opposition defences, and he's hitting a real run of form this season.

What are the main weaknesses in your team?

As mentioned earlier, it has to be the defence. Aside from the reliable and versatile James O'Connor, nobody else has managed to hold down a regular starting place, and most of the back line is prone to silly errors and lack of concentration. Injuries haven't helped this.

If Joseph Mills is not fit to return for this game it will be a real shame, he has been a great find at left back, plucked from your local rivals Southampton's reserves, and he's done a great job but his absence may mean having to play somebody out of position at left back as our only other natural left-sider George Friend is on the long-term injury list.

With Liam Lawrence suspended and other injuries to key players, do you fancy your chances of winning at
Fratton Park?

Portsmouth may have injuries to key players, but they're not alone. Billy Sharp, James Chambers, Simon Gillett, George Friend, Martin Woods and Joseph Mills are all starting contenders who could or will be out for us.

We're struggling to name a full bench at the moment. Lawrence's absence will be key and a big boost to our side, he's considered to be your best player and we remember him well from his Mansfield days as a stand-out in League 2 when we won the title.

Overall though both sides are missing key players and I don't think it'll greatly affect the outcome of the game.

Predict the outcome of the game.

I'm never too confident for away games, but we're fresh off the back of a very hard-earned point at
Burnley in midweek and the lads will want to try and build on that. I'll go for a 1-1 draw, our second in succession.