Sheffield Wednesday are preparing to make the short hop to the Keepmoat Stadium to face Paul Dickov’s Doncaster Rovers in a pre-season South Yorkshire derby encounter.
This will be both teams’ fourth friendly of the summer, with both clubs enjoying mainly positive results in pre-season thus far.
Last term Rovers achieved a league double over their Owls counterparts, despite suffering an agonising relegation that was decided in the dying embers of the season.
Both matches involved just the solitary goal; Federico Macheda’s second half header was enough for Rovers to secure an away victory last September, and a goal from the departing Chris Brown in March ensured that Dickov’s men took the spoils in the corresponding fixture at the Keepmoat.
Although as the Championship side the visitors will go in as favourites, it is worth noting that the Owls have NEVER even scored a goal at Doncaster’s relatively new stadium.
Doncaster: Last time out at Grimsby (W 0-4)
Williams (Ashdown, 46), Wakefield (Greasley, 90), Askins (Brown, 46), McCullough, Husband, (P.McKay, 90), Bennett (Whitehouse, 60) De Val (Head, 87), Furman (Linley, 90), Forrester (Ferguson, 76), Robinson, Tyson (Peterson, 46)
Wednesday: Last time out v FC Arsenal Tula (L 2-1)
Westwood (Wildsmith, 76), Palmer, Kelhar, Loovens (Zayatte,63), Mattock (Helan, 70), Maguire, Coke (Corry, 82), Hutchinson, Antonio, Nuhiu (Maghoma 70), Madine
A closer look at Doncaster…
This will be Rovers’ first friendly against Football League opposition, following victories over Grimsby Town and Bradford Park Avenue, along with a 2-0 loss against Lincoln City.
After the shocking collapse of the proposed joint takeover of the club by Louis Tomlinson and John Ryan, Doncaster’s preparation for the campaign has been somewhat neglected so far which means that Paul Dickov hasn’t been able to add to his paper-thin squad.
The instrumental quartet of Richie Wellens, James Coppinger, Paul Quinn and James Husband look to be on their way out of the Keepmoat as the club don’t seem to be able to match their ambitions whilst they are stuck in League One.
They will join Chris Brown, Gabriel Tamas, David Cotterill, Mark Duffy and Billy Paynter on the list of departures.
Rovers League One title odds: 11/1 (William Hill)
Keep an eye on…
Speed merchant Nathan Tyson looks likely to feature for the home side tomorrow, as he is currently enjoying a trial period with the recently-relegated club.
Tyson played and scored in the first half at Grimsby, but Rovers’ chief Paul Dickov will want to see how the former Blackpool striker can perform against better quality opponents.
The 32 year-old has plenty of experience in the third tier with stints at Reading, Wycombe and Forest.
However, more recently he has spent time on loan with Notts County and Fleetwood, where he failed to score for both clubs.
A closer look at Wednesday…
The Owls have seen off York City and Bury so far, but recently slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Russian outfit Arsenal Tula during their pre-season tour of Slovenia.
Head coach Stuart Gray’s plans seem to be in limbo as Hafiz Mammadov’s takeover hasn’t yet been ratified by the Football League, so for now the 54 year-old has very little room for manoeuvre in the transfer market.
Despite this Gray has brought in ‘keeper Kieren Westwood from Sunderland and Chelsea midfielder Sam Hutchinson, but Martin Taylor, David Prutton, Reda Johnson, Jermaine Johnson, Anthony Gardener and Miguel Llera have been released after their contracts expired.
The visitors have an abysmal record in this fixture and will be hoping that they can score at the Keepmoat for the first time ever on Sunday 27th July.
Owls Championship title odds: 40/1 (William Hill)
Keep an eye on…
Capped by his country at senior level on six occasions, Slovenian central defender Dejan Kelhar has had his trial period with Gray’s men extended so he is expected to start against Doncaster.
Kelhar featured in the 2-1 defeat against Arsenal Tula, and he impressed the Owls’ gaffer who wants to test him against British opposition.
The 30 year-old has vast pedigree and experience, having played for clubs such as: Red Star Belgrade, Cercle Brugge, Greuther Furth and Legia Warsaw.
Kelhar’s performance in Slovenia earned praise from Gray, who said: ‘He and Glenn Loovens looked like they had played 25 games together.’
It’s no secret that Wednesday desperately need to bolster that central defensive department as Glenn Loovens and Kamil Zayatte are the only senior centre halves that the club have on their books.
Odds (Courtesy of Betfair)
Rovers win 1/16
Owls win 1/16