Doncaster Rovers vs Tranmere Rovers match preview

Goodison to play as Tranmere go in search of away win
Coca-Cola League One returns this weekend following the first round proper of this seasons F.A. Cup last weekend, and things don't get any easier for Tranmere as they face Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium in their third away game in three weekends.

Ronnie Moore will be hoping that his side can carry forward any momentum gained by last weekend's 2-1 win away at Chesterfield as they hope to pick up at least a point against their League One rivals.

Doncaster Rovers team profile:

Formed: 1879

Ground: The Keepmoat Stadium

Manager: Sean O'Driscoll

Nickname: Rovers

Season Finish 2006/07: 11th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Last season was a season of mixed emotions for both Tranmere and Doncaster last season, as both sides finished around mid table in League One.

When the two sides met, Rovers managed to keep two clean sheets against the Yorkshire side as they picked up a draw at Belle Vue and a 1-0 win at Prenton Park against Donny.

The first meeting between the two sides was Rovers' first Saturday away game of the season on August 12 and was Tranmere's final match at Doncaster's old Belle Vue ground which was later replaced by their new Keepmoat Stadium after the New Year.

The game did however end up in a drab 0-0 draw, with neither side doing enough to score, let alone win the game.

Back at Prenton Park on February 10th however, there was indeed one goal as Tranmere won 1-0 against an in form Doncaster side.

The goal came in the sixth minute, as a Paul McLaren free-kick was headed down by Gareth Taylor to Chris Greenacre who netted at the far post from close range.

Vital Stats:

Tranmere have won just three out of 36 away games against Doncaster

Rovers are unbeaten against Doncaster, in Doncaster, since the Yorkshire side returned to the Football League

Doncaster have scored 75 goals in 36 home games against Tranmere

In five previous November meetings, there have been no draws between the two sides, with Tranmere picking up two wins compared to Doncaster's three

Since the 1969/70 season, niether side has completed the double over the other

On This Day:

2001: Tranmere progress to the second round of the F.A. Cup thanks to a 4-1 win over non-league Brigg Town at Prenton Park

1990: Another F.A. Cup date sees Tranmere win away at non-league Halesowen Town by a 2-1 margin

1984: Tranmere draw away with Welsh side Bangor City 1-1, again in the F.A. Cup, despite trailing the game 1-0

In ten previous games on November 17th, of which five have been in the F.A. Cup, Tranmere have picked up four wins and four draws as well as two defeats.

The Form Book:

Doncaster last 6 home games: WWWLWW
Tranmere last 6 away games: WLLWDW

Doncaster Rovers come into this game having not played at home since October 28th, having played four consecutive away games. However they also come into this game in formidable form at the Keepmoat Stadium, having won six of their last seven games at home.

After a brilliant start on the road this season, Rovers good run threatened to come to a halt until they picked up a battling 2-1 win away at Chesterfield in the F.A. Cup last weekend.

In their first home game of the season, Doncaster picked up a 0-0 draw with Millwall on the opening day before then hammering struggling League Two side Lincoln 4-1 in the League Cup first round.

A 2-1 defeat to struggling Bournemouth followed, but they soon got back on tracks with a 5-1 thrashing of Bradford City at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Two consecutive 2-0 wins followed, as first Crewe, and then Cheltenham Town, travelled to Yorkshire but left empty handed, before Doncaster lost 3-2 at home to Walsall.

Since, Sean O'Driscoll's side are unbeaten at the Keepmoat however, with three consecutive (and impressive) home victories following the defeat to the Saddlers.

First, Doncaster picked up their third 2-0 home win of the season against Huddersfield Town, before beating Oldham Athletic 3-0 in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, a team they would later meet in the F.A. Cup. In their most recent home game, Doncaster disposed of Leyton Orient, thanks a terrific 4-2 win over the high-flying O's.

Notable away results for Doncaster include wins over Swindon Town (2-1) and Swansea City (2-1), as well as a 0-0 draw away to Nottingham Forest.

From seven home league games this season, Doncaster have picked up 13 points from an available 21, thanks to four wins, two defeats and one draw.

Prior to this result however, Tranmere had lost two consecutive away games, their first defeats on the road in the league this season, both without scoring, as firstly they lost against Swindon thanks to an 89th minute strike from Barry Corr before Ronnie Moore's side lost 2-0 against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in their first game of November.

These, however, remain Tranmere's only two away defeats of the season. Previously, they had picked up an impressive three wins in five away games, a run which had seen them push to the top of the League One table.

The other three matches in the six match sequence saw them first defeat Carlisle thanks to a first-half goal from Craig Curran before Rovers drew 1-1 with Cheltenham town despite leading at half-time thanks to a strike from Chris Greenacre.

However, the Wirral side made amends for letting this lead slip in their next outing, as, with one of their best away performances in the last few years, Rovers travelled to Roots Hall and beat Southend United 2-1 thanks to goals from Ben Chorley and Gareth Taylor.

In their other two away league games of the season, Tranmere have beaten Gillingham 2-0 and drawn 1-1 at Huish Park against Yeovil Town.

In the Carling Cup First Round, Ronnie Moore's side lost 1-0 away at Stockport County as Matty McNeil scored the winner late on.

From seven away league games, Tranmere have picked up three wins, two draws and two defeats, meaning they have picked up 11 points from an available 21.

Notable home results for the Prenton Park side include wins over Huddersfield Town (3-0), Luton Town (2-1) and Brighton and Hove Albion (2-0).

Double Hit:

In recent years, a number of players have played for both Tranmere and Doncaster, including striker Jason Price and midfielder Sean Thornton.

A third player who has played for both clubs is left-back Gareth Roberts, who joined Tranmere in 1999 when Rovers were still managed by John Aldridge.

Roberts started his career with Liverpool, but after failing to break into the first team on the other side of the Mersey, Roberts made the move to Greece.

However, things didn't agree with Roberts in the hotter part of Europe, and in 1999, on the recommendation of Wales manager John Toshack, John Aldridge signed Roberts on an initial two-month trial period.

Roberts did enough to impress "Aldo" in his initial trial period though, and it wasn't long before he signed a permanent contract with Rovers.

Indeed, Roberts, who went on to become a full Welsh international during his time at Prenton Park, stayed at Tranmere until 2006 when he joined Doncaster Rovers on a free-transfer following his own deal on the Wirral expired.

Roberts was part of the famous Tranmere team which went all the way to Wembley and the Worthington Cup Final in 2000 under Aldo, as well as being part of three Rovers teams which made it to F.A. Cup Quarter Finals, eventually losing to Newcastle United (3-2) in 2000, Liverpool (4-2) in 2001 and Millwall (2-1) in 2004.

He also scored a number of famous goals for the club, including a superb 35-yard free-kick at Chesterfield in his final season with the club, but undoubtably his best goal was a magnificent 22-yard volley away at Wrexham in the 2004/05 season, a game with Rovers won 5-1.

However, in July 2006, Roberts left Tranmere for Doncaster, citing the need for a fresh start as his reason to move on. In total, Roberts made 332 appearances for the club and became a firm fans favourite thanks to his 110% effort to go with his brilliant tackling and general ability as a full-back.

Roberts is now in his second season with Doncaster and things are looking up for the club under Sean O'Driscoll as they push for promotion into the Championship at last.

He has now made 56 appearances for Doncaster and scored just two goals, whilst picking up one red card in his time in Yorkshire.

However, sadly for Tranmere fans Roberts won't be lining up against his former team on Saturday due to an injury.

One To Watch: James Hayter

The one to watch from Doncaster could have been any of a number of players, including Richie Wellens and James Coppinger. However, another player who will terrorise the Tranmere defence all game long is striker James Hayter.

28-year old Hayter started his career with Bournemouth and made his debut towards the end of the 1996/97 season. After a couple of years of failing to make himself a permanent fixture in League One with the southern side, Hayter finally made himself a regular during the 1999/2000 season.

In a game against Bury on October 21st 2000, Hayter struck four goals in a 5-2 away win for Bournemouth as he started to make a name for himself as a top goalscorer.

His career progressed from here, and on February 24th 2004, Hayter struck the fastest hatrick in British football as the substitute netted three goals in 140 seconds in match against Wrexham in League One.

The "fox in the box" went on to make 407 appearances for Bournemouth in 11 years as a professional with the club, netting 107 goals in the process, before netting a £200,000 summer move to Doncaster in 2007.

Since moving to Doncaster, Hayter has continued his good goal scoring form. Although he has only netted four goals in 15 league games, the Doncaster number twelve also has a further three goals in three cup games.

Hayter, who stands at 5'9" tall has pace to burn and is a natural finisher in front of goal. He has a nack of getting in the right places at the right time and he will leave Ian Goodison and Antony Kay at the back for Tranmere with a real problem on Saturday.

Around League One:

Once again there are a number of important fixtures around League One this weekend, with five teams having a mathmatical chance of holding top spot by the end of the weekend and only five points seperating first placed Carlisle from eighth placed Tranmere.

Tranmere's game against Doncaster will see ninth place take on eighth place at the Keepmoat Stadium, and of course both sides have a chance of being in the play-offs come 5pm on Saturday.

Fourth placed Swansea take on Huddersfield Town on Friday night at the Liberty Stadium and should Swansea win 3-0 they will go top of the table having played the same amount of games as the other teams in the top six. Of course however, the rest of the league will go a fixture up on them again as they play over Saturday and Sunday.

There is a perhaps surprising all play-off game between Leyton Orient and Brighton as the two teams meet at Brisbane Road on Saturday lunch time, live on Sky Sports.

The O's are currently third in the table whilst Brighton lie sixth after a magnificent recent run of form and they will be confident of a win tomorrow thanks to a decent away record compared to a Leyton Orient home record which has seen them lose 4-2 to Hartlepool and 5-0 to Swansea.

Leeds, on the back of three games without a win, are at home again and this time take on Swindon Town in a match which was once a top-flight fixture whilst fifth placed Southend take on Cheltenham Town, bottom of the League One table at Roots Hall in what is set to be a stern test for the Robins.

Nottingham Forest aren't in action this weekend due to international fixtures whilst on Sunday there is a bottom half clash between Yeovil (16th) and Gillingham (19th) at Huish Park, again on Sky Sports, followed by mid-table Hartlepool's game against relegation threatened Bournemouth at Victoria Park.

Team News:

A number of important players are missing for Tranmere this weekend, as they go into this game without both Shane Sherriff and Craig Curran who miss the game through suspension. Again, Steve Davies (knee-ligaments) will miss the game whilst Ben Chorley is out for up to a month with injury. Midfielder John Mullin is expected to miss out again with an ankle injury but a return to action is expected soon for the Rovers number seven. Danny Coyne and Ian Goodison are both available though having rejected the chance to play for their country.

Jones' Prediction: Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Tranmere Rovers

This game is going to be a very tough test for Tranmere, especially with key defender Ben Chorley missing through injury. Again, if Rovers are to win, their hard working midfield will have to work well on the day whilst the defence and 'keeper will have to be at their best to keep out the Doncaster attackers. Rovers must cut out the long ball which has been on show in recent weeks, whilst the use of wingers Cooper and Shuker must be heavy as these will be the two players who can really turn the out come of the game.

However, with so many players out injured, Tranmere have a tough task ahead of them. It is likely that Carl Tremarco will have to start at left-back, whilst without the option of Curran on the bench, chances to change the game will be limited should Rovers fall behind.