Doncaster fan Lewis Ward tells us that his side are on an excellent run of form going into their game against the Valiants…
About the fan
“I’m 23-years-old and from Doncaster. I’m studying journalism at Sheffield Hallam University as we speak and should be graduating this year. I write for a Rovers supporters group, DRFC Exiles, and have been writing for them for nearly two years.
“I’ve been a Rovers fan since the age of around eight. I’m not entirely sure what my first game was but I think it was against Forest Green Rovers in the Conference. To be honest, we always seemed to playing either Forest Green or Rushden and Diamonds.”
How is your team faring this season?
Going into Saturday, we’re unbeaten on the road in the League since October…
We had a dodgy start to the season and were neither here or there when it came to results. Early on in the season you’d have expected us to finish in the low to mid-table but over the past few weeks we’ve turned our form around and have shot up the table. The win on Tuesday against Crewe, having gone behind in that game, really showed what we can do. The three points put us into the play-off places for the first time since the first few weeks of the season.
Going into Saturday, we’re unbeaten on the road in the League since October when we lost at Fleetwood. We’ve also won our last three games and have scored ten goals in those three games.
I don’t think many Rovers fans were expecting us to go straight back up following the relegation. A mid-table finish would have been brilliant and anything higher is a bonus.
Where do you think you’ll finish?
I would have been happy with a mid-table finish. I’d be really pleased to see anything higher, but my only concern is whether we would be ready and able to survive in the Championship again. We went up in spectacular fashion last time around, but we weren’t ready for the challenge in the higher league.
I think a good finish in League One this time around and then another season at this level would give us time to prepare and kick on when the time is right.
Who should we watch out for?
In the past few games it’s been really difficult to single one player out for the man of the match. Everyone has been fantastic and as a team have produced amazing results…
In the past few games it’s been really difficult to single one player out for the man of the match. Everyone has been fantastic and as a team have produced amazing results.
Having said that, Nathan Tyson has been great up front so far this season. He’s scored twice in the last week and he also ran the full length of the field to set Kyle Bennett up for the third goal against Yeovil last week. Bennett’s been another star man this season. He’s shown what he is about and has put in some really good performances.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
Paul Dickov has done a fantastic job in turning Rovers’ form around. He faced a lot of criticism earlier in the season with some fans calling for his head, but he’s kept calm under the pressure to prove his abilities as a manager. He has brought in a great prospect in Uche Ikpeazu which has provided another option up front. He’s also signed Abdul Razak, who has really added to the side even though he’s only made two substitute appearances so far.
I think Dickov has been smart in the timing of these signings and has made the side more stable at just the right time.
What are your thoughts on your board?
When we need to make changes to the side by bringing players in, or letting them go, the board have always backed Dickov…
When we need to make changes to the side by bringing players in, or letting them go, the board have always backed Dickov and done their best to provide what he needs. Not all of the fans were on their side when John Ryan first left the club, but I think a lot have changed their opinion.
To be honest, I still don’t know what to make of them. So far this season we have heard that the budget is one of the highest in League, but then we hear that we can’t afford to sign players. I think there needs to be more communication to clear these issues up and then I think more people would be on the board’s side.
Any views on Port Vale?
Michael O’Connor is a player I would have liked us to sign at the beginning of the season…
When we played Port Vale earlier in the season, you looked as though you knew what you were doing and could expose us when we made mistakes or switched off for a second. That is the only game I can judge Port Vale on this season, so Saturday will be a surprise for me!
Michael O’Connor is a player I would have liked us to sign at the beginning of the season. I had seen him play a couple of times for Rotherham and Scunthorpe prior to that and he seems like a composed player who steps up at the right time to influence the side and performance.
Did you attend the reverse fixture earlier this season?
I was at the Keepmoat for the home tie. From what I can remember, the defending on our part was terrible for all three Vale goals, but that is not taking anything away from your performance that day. Kyle Bennett’s goal for us showed more of what we are like now, but that was obviously too late that day.
Any views on players involved with both sides?
I can’t think of any strong links between the sides player or manager wise. Steve Brooker is probably the most recognisable player for both sides. He was extremely unlucky during his time at the Keepmoat and spent a lot of time injured but has gone down in history for securing Championship survival with a wonder strike against Leicester in 2011.
Brian Horton has a big link with Port Vale too. As assistant manager, we don’t hear or see a great deal of him, except for the odd outburst towards the fourth official or linesman. He’s working well as a team with Dickov though, which is exactly what matters.
A score prediction?
This is a difficult one, because I don’t want to jinx our form!
I’ll go for a 0-1 win for Rovers, with Nathan Tyson finding the net.