The last time these two teams were in League 1, Doncaster sealed the title on the final day of the season against Brentford and Yeovil won the Play – Off final against the very same Brentford side. They both took their place in the Championship and they have both made an immediate return to the third tier.
However their history goes back a lot further, with a lot more in common than just the last two seasons. Back in the 2002/2003 season both teams were competing in the Conference and have made an incredible rise through the leagues in the years since. That season, Yeovil Town won the Conference with a record 95 points, whilst Rovers gained promotion through the play-offs with a 3-2 win over Dagenham and Redbridge.
With both sides experiencing remarkable success since then, their history has resulted in a mutual respect for one another and an excitement when the two sides meet. What better way to start the new campaign then a clash between two teams who will want to return to the Championship after a premature exit at the end of last season? It has been an interesting summer for both teams, however, Rovers fans may not use that exact word to describe it. The Yorkshire club have seen their prospective takeover by One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and former chairman John Ryan collapse. The duo were set to complete the deal but the Football League did not approve due to an unsuccessful crowd funding initiative. This has unsettled many Rovers fans, but things are looking brighter for the Yorkshire side having signed Aston Villa ‘keeper Jed Steer on loan, striker Nathan Tyson as well as securing an extension for club favourite James Coppinger. The squad has finally come together for Rovers and they will want to put the behind the scenes drama behind them and lead a promotion push.
Yeovil Town have also had a busy summer having had to rebuild following the loss of Byron Webster, Luke Ayling and Marek Stech. With nine new faces at the club, including former Crewe striker AJ Leitch – Smith, defender Nathan Smith and highly rated centre half Jakub Sokolik, the Glovers have a largely new side and will hope they can prove successful. They are currently waiting to hear whether former Nottingham Forest midfielder Simon Gillett is to accept Gary Johnson’s contract offer and if they are to come to an agreement his League 1 experience could be crucial.
The two sides have met 14 times since 2002, ranging from non-league to the Championship. Yeovil Town have been dominant in these meetings with 9 wins and 3 draws, leaving Rovers just 2 wins in recent years. However, one of these did come in the Championship last year, when Town made the trip to Yorkshire in November, where the home side came out on top 2-1. In the reverse fixture, the Glovers triumphed thanks to former Rovers striker James Hayter’s penalty that was decisive in a 1-0 win at Huish Park in February.
Foot in both camps
James Hayter – The striker is about to begin his third season with the Glovers and Rovers fans will not need reminding that he was a favourite at the Keepmoat Stadium. He made 162 appearances for Doncaster, scoring the winning goal in the 2008 League One Play – Off final against Leeds United. Whilst at Yeovil, he has scored 24 goals for the Glovers, including 2 against his old side in both the 2012/13 season and last season in the Championship.
Jed Steer – Having secured a short term loan at Doncaster, the former Norwich City keeper has also spent time on loan at Huish Park. He made 12 appearances at League One level before being forced to return with a thigh injury. He will be looking for regular first team football whilst on loan from Aston Villa.
Both teams will be looking for a positive start to the new campaign in order to let the rest of the division know that they were not content with a one season stay in the Championship. History suggests it will be an interesting game, but will Yeovil continue their positive record against Doncaster? Or will Rovers secure a win at Huish Park for the first time in ten years?