Doncaster entertain Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday at the Keepmoat Stadium (3pm)
This weekend we hope to give Birmingham the blues as Rovers look to push ever closer to securing Championship status for next season. Victory could potentially see Paul Dickov’s men move eleven points clear with just 18 to play for after the weekend, it’s not a forgone conclusion but it’s certainly an appealing prospect.
However, the visitors will be coming to the Keepmoat also chasing three points in their own fight to stave off the threat of relegation but recent form isn’t on their side with just two victories in their last ten games.
When Rovers made the trip to the West Midlands back in December 2011 optimism was high after a terrific victory over Southampton and were looking to continue the winning run.
The visitors took the game to City and the first chance of a battling opening 15 minutes went the way of Rovers, James Coppinger tested the reflexes of Boaz Myhill with a stinging shot from the edge of the box and minutes later a mix up in the penalty area presented Simon Gillett with a chance but the midfielder dragged his shot agonisingly wide.
Birmingham appealed in vain for a spot kick when David Murphy struck at goal but it rebounded off Gillett, the hosts claimed handball but referee, Nigel Miller, waved away the claims. Billy Sharp nodded a right wing cross just off target and then Quentin Fortune was denied by a last ditch Jonathan Spector challenge as Rovers turned up the heat just before the half time break.
Into the second half it was the away side who almost netted immediately from the restart but Brian Stock narrowly missed the target, but when then next chance presented itself there was to be no doubt of the finish. Rovers made a quick counter attack and Sharp played the ball into Fortune, the midfielder took a touch to steady himself before firing past a helpless Myhill to open the scoring.
The Blues toiled in getting an equaliser and Rovers looked to be holding strong until Chris Burke dispossessed Herita Ilunga and the winger put the ball in the perfect position for Marlon King to level the scores. It was cruel on Rovers who had battled well and were good value for the lead, but it was to get worse and in the most agonizing of circumstances for the visitors. With just two minutes of the game to go the same pair combined for the home side to snatch victory at the death, denying Rovers a point which they arguably at least deserved.
Birmingham Stats (H)
Recent history suggests that Rovers will be overturned by the Blues as they have won on their last three visits to South Yorkshire but history is there to be re written, and even more so with Rovers winning four of the last seven league games played in comparison to Birmingham’s two wins in ten.
Rover’s highest victory over this weekend’s opponents came at home, a 3-1 victory back in 1953/54
Rovers won the first ever game played between the sides by virtue of 1-0 back in 1902 which was also in Doncaster.
Football League Sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers hotshot Billy Sharp priced at 11/2 to score first in the game.
Doncaster Rovers 7/5
Birmingham City 9/5
To open an account with Sky Bet CLICK HERE
* Odds subject to change, correct as of 03/04/14
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