Doncaster v Pompey: The opposition view
We caught up with Liam Hoden from the Sheffield Star to get the lowdown on how Doncaster's season has gone so far...
It’s hard to put your finger on why Pompey are several places ahead of Doncaster this season, given how tight it was in League Two last term.
Doncaster have played well and deserved to get something out of virtually every game.
They’re just committing silly mistakes or switching off and conceding goals and then having a real issue firing back.
They beat Southend 4-1 earlier this month and it was Donny’s first home win of the campaign.
Contrastingly, they didn’t lose until their third-last home game last season.
Against Southend, it was also the first time this term Doncaster have equalised – a run of 13 game.
They’re having problems in both final thirds of the pitch, which is weird because young centre-back Joe Wright has done really well.
Doncaster are having real problems getting going, but it’s hard to put a finger on what is wrong.
What they were good at last season – and in the two wins against Pompey – they are still good at.
In Saturday’s loss at Charlton, they probably edged it and were the better side, but Charlton had a lead to defend.
A lot of the confidence Donny had last campaign seems to have ebbed away.
Darren Ferguson made very few changes during the summer. Everyone who was moved on were players the manager wanted to leave and then he added to his squad.
There’s not been much upheaval, although they suffered a blow when Danny Andrews – who arrived from Grimsby – done his cruciate ligament and is out for the rest of the season.
That’s bumped them a bit because he added quite a lot of quality on the left-hand side.
John Marquis is out after picking up five yellow cards.
To be honest, he’s not had the greatest of starts to the campaign and everyone was expecting him to really kick of after scoring 26 goals last term.
He lead the team but has struggled a bit and is not imposing himself on games.
At his best, Marquis is a complete nightmare for defenders because he is constantly winding them up and is really in their face.
He seems to have lost that aggressive edge, although Doncaster will miss him because they’re struggling up front fitness-wise.
Tommy Rowe hasn’t had a great start, either, but he’s a top-quality player and was far too good for League Two.
On his day, he’s too good for League One and has that ability of creating something out of nothing.
The ambitions at the start of the season were quite cagey and everyone from Ferguson, to the players, to the board didn’t want to set a target.
After being relegated in 2016, coming back up was the goal and they were set up to do that last term.
But this season it’s been a case of playing down expectations – Ferguson perhaps knew there would be a few teething problems.
If you’d have asked anyone at the start of the campaign, consolidation was key and people are thinking mid-table would be welcome as long as they’re not involved in a relegation scrap.