After a disappointing display and 2-1 loss away at Shrewsbury on Tuesday, the lads are set to face Doncaster Rovers at the Stadium of Light off this Saturday. But how will the game pan out?
Donny also come off the back of a disappointing result, having lost 3-1 to Fleetwood Town despite being 1-0 up with 30 minutes left.
I was joined by Doncaster Rovers fan Aaron Challoner on the Red And White Podcast, here is what he had to say...
“We just completely collapsed the other night at Fleetwood; the problem was that we just didn’t play how we can! We usually break teams down, usually gradually grow into each game, we keep pressuring teams and keep pushing teams; the thing is we let Fleetwood have too much of the ball the other night and that ultimately cost us the game. I think it starts with our team selection, every game is now a cup final for us, especially if we want the title over Lincoln or Hull, maybe even Peterborough or Portsmouth. I do realise though, we have to rotate the squad and give all of our players minutes on the field, but I think that it may have cost us against Fleetwood. I hope Saturday at Sunderland can be a huge boost for us, and go back to the way we’ve been playing and the way we know we can play.”
I think we really need to press Sunderland; we’ve seen it time and time again that Sunderland’s defence can collapse, we should be playing a 4-2-3-1 system, which works in my opinion rather than a 4-3-3 which we played the other night. We’ve pressed all of the top teams and we’ve broken them down, so I think we need to do that this Saturday and hopefully we get a result if we press from minute one to minute 90.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH?
“Taylor Richards needs to start, Madger Gomez needs to be playing CAM rather than in that holding midfield role where he played against Fleetwood and where his passing error cost us a goal. He plays at his best in that advanced midfield role. One of the dangermen who may slip under the radar is Omar Bogle, if he starts, but also Fejiri Okenabirhie, who’s our top scorer. He’s our main threat, but he’s a wide forward, not an out and out striker. I think our full back, Brad Halliday, is the best right back in the division, we got him on a free from Cambridge, but he’s been outstanding no matter where he’s played. I expect Reece James to have a good game too, obviously being a former Sunderland player, he will be up for the game and he’s been pretty solid and his play has been fantastic this season down the left hand side of the park, whether that be on the left side of midfield or at left back.”
“There are a few weak points, giving the ball away for one, we give it away far too much and get caught out. Defensively, we can look weak too and the keeper has made a few mistakes and conceded a few too but don’t underestimate him. As for a score prediction, I'm going to go for 2-0 Doncaster!”
With Jordan Willis out until next season, doubts over Tom Flanagan’s fitness and the full backs looking weak, Johnson hasn’t got the luxury of having a plethora of defenders to work with and may be forced into playing a makeshift back four.
Dion Sanderson has looked decent at full-back but, if Flanagan isn’t fit, may play alongside Bailey Wright at centre-half. Ideally, Jake Vokins needs taking out of the firing line and Max Power is not a right back, so the full back slots need serious deliberation. Let’s hope Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan return ASAP to bolster the squad.
Considering this and Doncaster’s attacking prowess (with only Portsmouth having scored more goals than their 42) we need to win the midfield battle to stop us being exploited at the back. Maybe three in the middle might leave us less open?
With Donny looking strong this season, I can see this being a high-scoring game. I back us to score goals, but given our current form, I sadly predict a 2-1 loss.