Dark Horses: Doncaster Rovers Place Themselves in Running for Promotion

Doncaster Promotion

South Yorkshire side Doncaster Rovers have started the season well and a promotion push would not be surprising.

Manager Darren Moore is now into his second season in charge of the club he once played for. He didn’t manage to complete his first season, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he has instilled his desired style of football on his team and it’s working a treat.

Doncaster Rovers Are Dark Horses for Promotion

Realistic Expectations Last Campaign

Rovers lost out in the play-off semi-finals under Grant McCann in 2018/19, having pushed Charlton Athletic all the way. Charlton went on to beat Sunderland at Wembley Stadium and the rest is history.

After losing John Marquis to Portsmouth, Doncaster were not among the favourites to go one better and that was backed by their actions on the field. They had a positive 2019/20 campaign, all things considered, but it wasn’t looking like a promotion campaign, with another play-off push on the cards at best.

Rovers finished ninth in League One, which was decided by an unweighted points-per-game system. However, after a second summer of business, things appear to have worked out well for Darren Moore in the transfer window. Over the months prior to the season, he was able to add a series of shrewd low-cost signings, all of which could well see Doncaster positioned higher up in the table.

That said, it was still relatively unknown how Doncaster would start the season on the pitch. For anyone who was in any doubt of their prospects, Rovers’ start will have given them a rude awakening. Their positive start was given a major boost on Tuesday night, with a 4-1 win over then-league leaders Ipswich Town, a wonderful way to make your intentions known.

Keeping Ben Whiteman at the Club as Good as a New Signing

Perhaps as good as any signing this summer, Doncaster managed to retain captain Ben Whiteman, who had been linked with Championship clubs, most notably Barnsley. Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin promised not to accept any bids that would not allow Doncaster to strengthen adequately and he subsequently delivered on that promise, resisting such efforts to sign the 24-year-old midfielder.

Don’t disregard Whiteman’s influence either, he scored a brace in that win over Ipswich. He also provided a pair of assists in Doncaster’s first League One win this season, a 3-1 victory over Charlton Athletic at the Valley.

Looking a Strong Outfit

Doncaster Rovers have picked up 13 of a possible 18 points this season so far. Only one team – Ipswich Town – have managed to score more than Doncaster’s 13 goals and Rovers have a game in hand on all above them bar Sunderland.

The defence has been fairly strong too, despite keeping just one clean sheet, they have conceded just five goals – only Sunderland (1) and Hull City (4) have shipped fewer.

All things considered, things are looking good for Rovers, however, it is still early days. How fitting it would be for club legend James Coppinger to bow out on a successful campaign.


Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images