Former Rovers defender George Friend spoke to Chris Donald about his time at Rovers and looks ahead to Friday’s game.
How was your time at Rovers in general?
I met some great people there and some really good friends including Simon Gillett, one of my closest friends in football. There’s been quite a few changes but I keep in contact with Copps and Chris Brown. I think they’ve got the club back together now after going down a bit of a wrong path which upset me at the time just because it was a shame we couldn’t stay up. I’m pleased to see them back on their feet in that aspect and they’re a threatening side in this division again.
What did you make of the promotion last season?
I couldn’t believe it! It was a great finish really, not by the guy who took the penalty, but it was a great finish to the season. Donny enjoy those promotions don’t they? They’ve got a fairly good recent history of that so it was another exciting thing for the chairman who is a great guy as well and for everyone involved at the club. For Copps to get the goal too it was nice for him because he is Mr. Doncaster really, he’s been there for years and has been a really successful player for them. He’s a great role model for anyone in the Doncaster area because he’s been there for years and managed to keep his place throughout their rise and be one of the best players every year so I’ve got a lot of respect for Copps.
How will it be going up against Rovers on Friday for the first time since leaving after being a real fans’ favourite?
It’ll be good. It’ll be nice to see some of the Donny fans but obviously I want us to beat them. Hopefully there will be a big crowd because the last time the club did this offer was against Sheffield Wednesday and that was a great atmosphere with around 28,000 which gave me a few goose bumps running out. I’ve been looking forward to this game.
What have you made of Rovers’ start this season, do you keep an eye on them?
They look fairly solid in defence. One game that sticks in my mind is the Charlton away game. I spoke to Browny and Copps after I saw them sweeping the pitch and really felt for them because it was likely they were going on to win it and that would have been a good result. They look a dangerous side. I keep tabs on all my old clubs but especially Donny as there are fresh in my mind and I’m not too far away.
Was it a difficult decision to leave when you opted to join Boro last summer?
Well, we had an interesting season to say the least with all the changes at the club the year we went down but it felt like the right time to go. After relegation it made the decision a little easier because I don’t think anyone can blame me for wanted to play at the highest level I can.
I was really proud to be the captain at Doncaster and it was a good transition for me having not played much when I left Wolves to be then playing regular football at Donny. I really did enjoy it there.
Both teams are neck and neck in the league, does this add anything extra to the match?
With the teams neck and neck in the league I suppose it makes the game a bit more interesting but I don’t like to look at the teams around me at the moment because I feel we will keep moving up the table. It makes it more interesting for me because I have the connection but hopefully we can end up above them after the game!
Latest Odds with Sky Bet
Sky Bet has George Friend at 20/1 to be first goal scorer.