The Opposition View: Doncaster Rovers

Last updated : 29 September 2016 By Jim Bonner

What's your assessment of Doncaster's season since relegation from League One?

Considering we brought in a dozen new players in the summer and have had to endure a ridiculous spate of injuries since pre-season, I think we've done pretty well. The top three is where we aim to finish so hopefully we can compete from now until the end of the season. We have a lot of attacking talent and are playing a much more clearly defined style compared to last year's aimless shambles. 

What do Donny fans currently think of Darren Ferguson's reign as manager?

I think the jury is still out for many of our fans, but our start to the season has earned him some goodwill. We know that Fergie is capable of getting a team out of this league so he has the pedigree, it just remains to be seen whether he can solve our long-term problems of being defensively fragile and of struggling to bounce back during a bad run of results.

Enda Stevens, Kyle Bennett and Curtis Main all once represented Doncaster. What are your thoughts on those players?

Bennett is clearly a talented player but has never been consistent enough, so I can see why he's playing in League Two despite being 26-years-old now. He never quite put it all together for us despite looking like a world-beater on occasion. Stevens wasn't here for long but he was a good hand who performed well, I'm glad he's getting regular football now as it eluded him for a long time at Aston Villa.

Curtis Main is a different prospect altogether. He is another who clearly has ability but his attitude was not good enough here and the fans made him a bit of a scapegoat last season. The fact he went to Oldham and scored a few goals only served to frustrate us more as he proved he can be an asset when his mind is right, but too many times he played for us with no passion or determination. He didn't strike me as the most intelligent of players when I watched him, it has to be said.

John Marquis had an unhappy loan spell at Pompey once-upon-a-time. What do Rovers fans think of him?

In under a dozen games John Marquis has become a firm fans' favourite already. He works tirelessly throughout games, badgers the opposition physically and verbally and his ability on the ball is very good too. He is a superb hold-up man who can finish as well, and I expect he will hit double figures for the season before long. We're very happy to have him and he appears to have struck up a good strike partnership with Andy Williams in a short space of time.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Doncaster team and who are the key players?

As an attacking unit I think most teams in this division are going to struggle to cope with us. We blew Morecambe away on their own patch earlier this month and have a wealth of good players going forward.

Tommy Rowe is one of the best midfielders in either of the bottom two leagues in my opinion and is key to the team, but the main man at the moment is James Coppinger. He is scoring goals, getting assists and more often than not is running the show for us in matches. Combine them with our strikers Marquis and Williams who have ten goals between them already and there's a really strong unit going forward there.

However, our big problem lies at the back. Injuries haven't helped but our defence just isn't capable of stopping the opposition from scoring. Matty Blair is having to play right back despite being a winger and Cedric Evina is a big weak link on the other flank. There isn't much consistency being shown there so whilst we are always capable of scoring (and have done so in every single game this season to date) we unfortunately are always liable to concede soft goals too.

What kind of match can we expect at Fratton Park and would you take a draw if offered?

From looking at Portsmouth's home form I'd say you can expect goals, and plenty of them. I'm anticipating an open, end-to-end game with plenty of action and I have to say I will be satisfied if we come away with a point.

We could really do with a win after losing at Luton and drawing at home to Carlisle but this is a tough run of games for us and I'm not under any illusion that we're going to go into this game as favourites. We play too expansive a style away so if you have pacey wide men you will cause us problems.

Predict the outcome of the game.

I hate to predict the results of fixtures but if pushed I'd say Portsmouth will pick up the win, maybe 2-1 or even a high-scoring 3-2.