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Match preview: Doncaster Rovers v York City
DONCASTER Rovers look set to have only 12 fit outfield professionals to choose a side from for tomorrow’s Capital One Cup first round home clash against York City.
The League One side, relegated from the Championship last season, have been handicapped in the transfer market over the summer with manager Dean Saunders told he must offload the club’s big earners before recruiting new faces.
That process has been slow, however, with George Friend and James O’Connor only departing for Middlesbrough and Derby respectively in recent days, while classy midfielder Brian Stock’s protracted move to Burnley is still yet to be completed, meaning he could now be required to face the Minstermen.
Exciting winger James Coppinger also surprisingly remains on the Keepmoat club’s books although the likes of Habib Beye, El-Hadji Diouf, Giles Barnes, Pascal Chimbonda, Mustapha Dumbaya, Simon Gillett, James Hayter, Sam Hird, Adam Lockwood and John Oster have departed since the end of the last campaign.
In the meantime, Saunders has only been given the green light to bring in four new players - Sheffield Wednesday skipper Rob Jones, Bradford City midfielder David Syers, former Sheffield United and Swansea winger David Cotterill and veteran ex-Leeds United and Bradford forward Robbie Blake.
Jones has had an eventful start to his Rovers career, scoring own goals in his both of his pre-season appearances for the club before suffering a hamstring injury that he is hopeful of recovering from in time to take on City.
Such has been the threadbare nature of his squad that Saunders, 48, has even been pressed into pre-season action, scoring in a 4-2 win at Cleethorpes Town, where 44-year-old assistant Brian Carey featured.
The former Welsh international also wanted to call off his side’s final first-team friendly against Barnsley last Saturday due to a lack of bodies.
Rovers drew that match 2-2, leaving the team unbeaten in a trio of home matches against local Championship opposition, following a 3-1 victory over Hull City and a goal-less encounter with Wednesday.
Away victories at Cleethorpes (4-2) and Grimsby (3-2) kicked off the club’s pre-season programme before a 3-3 draw with Bradford Park Avenue and a 2-1 defeat against Rotherham.
A makeshift Doncaster side, composing several trialists including former Luton striker Amari Morgan-Smith, went down 4-0 to Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday night with one-time City striker Richard Pacquette on the hosts’ scoresheet.
Transfer-listed Leeds striker Billy Paynter has also been linked with the club but Saunders has admitted that former Cardiff City right-back Paul Quinn might be the only possible new addition before the Minstermen clash.
Despite their lack of numbers, centre-back Shelton Martis (calf) is the only injury absentee, meaning left-back Tommy Spurr is expected to fill in at the heart of the Rovers defence, as he has done throughout pre-season.
As a consequence, hightly-rated, 18-year-old James Husband will be given his chance at full-back.
Chris Brown, meanwhile, is likely to lead the line in attack having scored twice the last time the two teams met in 2004 when, during his first spell at the club, Doncaster won 3-1, securing promotion for the hosts and condemning the Minstermen to Conference football.
The South Yorkshire side, who are inviting supporters of both teams to come to the match in fancy dress to celebrate the club taking over ownership of their stadium from the council, lost their last six matches at the Keepmoat last season.
In fact, Saunders’ men have not won any of their last dozen home fixtures, stretching back to a 2-0 triumph over Barnsley on January 2.
Doncaster (probable): G Woods, Quinn, Jones, Spurr, Husband, Cotterill, M Woods, Syers, Bennett, Brown, Blake.
DONCASTER Rovers and York City have been paired three times before in the League Cup and on each occasion City have triumphed.
Each time they have met in the first round.
In 1963/64, after a 0-0 draw at Belle Vue City won the replay 3-0.
The following two times, the tie was played over two legs.
In 1984/85, City won 3-2 at Doncaster and 5-0 at home.
In 1996/97, the game was drawn 1-1 at Belle Vue with City winning the second leg 2-0 at Bootham Crescent.
Neil Tolson was the marksman at Doncaster and the line-up on August 20, 1996, was: Warrington, McMillan, Murty, Randall, Atkin, Barras, Himsworth, Bushell (Pepper), Tolson, Bull (Naylor), Stephenson.
City progressed 2-0 at York thanks to goals from Steve Bushell and a Nigel Pepper penalty and were drawn against Everton at the next stage.
City’s last game in the competition – then the Carling Cup – was on August 12, 2003, when they went down 2-1 at Rotherham United with Dave Merris the scorer, and have not progressed beyond the first round since 1997/98 when they knocked out Port Vale before losing to Oxford.
It happened on August 11
1979: City lost 1-0 at Mansfield in a first round, first leg League Cup tie and despite winning the return at Bootham Crescent 3-2 lost on the away goals rule.
1980: A 0-0 draw at Hartlepool in a second leg League Cup game and City won 2-1 on aggregate.
1998: In front of 6,277 at Bootham Crescent, City lost 2-0 to Sunderland in a first round first leg League Cup encounter.
2001: On the opening day of this Division Three (League Two) campaign, City lost 1-0 at home to Football League newcomers Rushden & Diamonds watched by 4,307.
2007: A 2-1 defeat at home to Cambridge United in the Conference with Craig Farrell the scorer from the penalty spot. The crowd for this opening day fixture was 3,136 and was to be the highest of the season at Bootham Crescent.
Compiled by Dave Batters