With three games to go Rovers can go one step close to sealing promotion to the Championship as they face Johnstone’s Paint Trophy winners Crewe Alexandra.
In the two previous meetings this season Rovers failed to beat the Railwaymen and will hope to make it third time lucky in a win at all costs end to the season. Rovers’ fate is firmly in their own hands going into the final games with at least a one point cushion on the sides below, but with nine points on offer to the end of the season, Brian Flynn will want to leave nothing to chance by making the best possible start this weekend at Gresty Road.
The manager described Doncaster’s 2-0 loss on Tuesday night against Carlisle as a “defeat that looked worse than it was” but an unexpected off night for the team that has been in form of late and clinical in many of the big games. Rovers are also coming off a loss in the last away game against Coventry, who remain the only side in the division to have won both the home and away fixtures against Rovers this season with Crewe being the only other side capable of doing the same on Saturday.
Crewe have looked every bit of the attractive footballing side for which they are famed, under the stewardship of Dario Gradi as director of football and manager Steve Davis this season. Davis has also embraced the clubs youth policy which has seen academy talents such as Max Clayton and Luke Murphy play influential roles in the side this season following promotion last year.
In 13th place, Crewe have had a solid first season in League One beating Mk Dons, Swindon and Coventry as well as Rovers back on the 6th November and are the eighth best home side in the division despite only scoring just over one goal a game. The Alex have crucially failed to find the consistency to bridge the gap into the playoffs however finding wins on the road harder to come by.
Having avoided relegation in their first season in League One and recently claimed the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Crewe followed up their cup success with a loss to Brentford and now play three playoff sides in Rovers, Swindon and Yeovil. Manager Steve Davis has this week urged his players to earn a starting place in his squad for next season over the last five games as he looks to refocus his squad for a promotion push next season.
With both sides having lots to play for at Gresty Road this Saturday as Crewe still hold a slim chance of making the playoffs having only played 41 games, Saturday will be another stiff test for Rovers who will hope to draw upon their unrivalled success story of away form this season.
Crewe are likely to be without young captain and midfielder Luke Murphy who is struggling with a groin injury but will welcome back Arsenal and England prospect Chuks Aneke to his squad. Goalkeeper Alan Martin is also set to start with Steve Phillips ruled out with a dead leg and the likes of Michael West, Ollie Turton, Nathan Ellington and George Ray could also be in contention to bolster the squad after a quick turnaround from Wednesday’s game.
In 1955 Crewe Alexandra embarked on a sequence of not winning away for 56 matches. The streak was eventually ended with a 1-0 win against Southport nearly two years later.
Last Meeting – League – 06/11/2012
Crewe Alexandra – 2 (Dalla Valle 5 mins, Pogba 72 mins)
Doncaster Rovers – 0
ROVERS – Gary Woods, Paul Quinn, Rob Jones, Tommy Spurr, James Husband, David Syers, Paul Keegan, James Harper, Martin Woods, Iain Hume, Billy Paynter.
Subs – Shelton Martis (for Jones 27 mins), Robbie Blake (for Syers 46 mins), Chris Brown (for Harper 75 mins), Michael Woods, Andy Griffin, Sammy Clingan, Neil Sullivan.
Crewe Alexandra – Alan Martin, Kelvin Mellor, Mark Ellis, Harry Davis, Matt Tootle, Lauri Dalla Valle, Luke Murphy, Abdul Osman, Byron Moore, Chuks Aneke, Mathias Pogba.
Subs – Michael West (for Moore 46 mins), Gregor Robertson (for Aneke 90mins), Adam Dugdale, Oliver Turton, George Ray, Brendon Daniels, Steve Phillips.
Mainly dry throughout the day with increasing winds.
Although there are no scheduled roadworks please allow extra time for your journey to avoid unexpected delays.
Live and exclusive coverage of Crewe Alexandra v Doncaster Rovers at Gresty Road on Saturday 13th April 2013 will be available on Rovers Player from 2.45pm. Contact the commentary team via our official Twitter feed @drfc_official throughout the afternoon.