The Magic of the Cup

FA Cup

Image courtesy of Doncaster Free Press

The magic of the cup returns tomorrow as Rovers face Weston-Super-Mare in the first round proper of the FA Cup.

It is often said that the excitement and wonder of the competition has been lost in recent years and, to a certain extent, they are probably right. As a fan of an established Football League club, you know the final is most probably well out of reach and when you draw teams like Notts County or Stevenage every year you can be forgiven for taking the competition for granted.

At that level it is only when you draw one of the “big sides”, such as Manchester United or Chelsea, when the excitement seems to build up. Even if there’s only the slightest chance you could cause an upset, how often is it that you face a side like that competitively?

This year’s draw has had a bit of sparkle compared to the last few. For one, we’re the bigger club, and that’s something we’re not used to. Also the reaction of the Weston fans when the draw was made was priceless.

Vine courtesy of The Weston Mercury

For Weston-Super-Mare, the magic of the cup is as strong as ever. Their hard work has rightfully earned them a place in the first round and just the sort of draw they anticipated.

The feeling of excitement of the Weston fans is rubbing off on us and the FA Cup has come back to life. Even more so because we’ve been in that position, battling through the qualifying rounds for a place in the first round.

Anything is possible in the cup. Tomorrow’s game is perfectly set up for an upset and it is up to Rovers to keep focused and get the victory.

A record crowd awaits the sides at the Woodspring Stadium tomorrow for what will be an interesting tie.

Take nothing for granted.

Billy’s back! A look to the past…

As we were given the fantastic news that Billy Sharp was returning to Doncaster Rovers on loan this week, we take a look back to when Billy last wore a Rovers shirt.

Billy Sharp last turned out for Rovers in their away game at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate on January 21st 2012. Rovers lost the game 2-1, here’s how they lined up;

David Button

Jimmy O’Connor – Sam Hird – Habib Beye – Tommy Spurr

Simon Gillett – Brian Stock – James Coppinger

James Hayter – Billy Sharp – El Hadji Diouf

Chris Wood gave the hosts the lead after 26 minutes, nodding home Cole Skuse’s cross. Things turned nasty soon after when Habib Beye saw red when he jumped into a two-footed challenge on Skuse. Rovers had a mountain to climb already, even more so when Kalifa Cisse scored Bristol’s second from the resulting free kick.

Rovers managed to pull a goal back with only 15 minutes left when, after a passing move of around 30 passes, El Hadji Diouf headed past David James.

The goal was too little too late and the ten men of Rovers went on to lose the game 2-1.

Unfortunately, this was a common occurrence for Rovers that season and was their 16th defeat of the season so far.

Billy’s last goal for the club came in the 4-1 drubbing at Watford on New Years’ Eve 2011. Surprisingly, his goal levelled the scores and came just after the break.

When Billy left Doncaster Rovers, they were 23rd in the table with only Coventry City below them. After he left, Rovers failed to record another victory until March 6th when they faced Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Where are they now?

Billy’s last game came away at Bristol City in January 2012. Where are his team mates now?

David Button (GK)

On loan from Tottenham Hotspur, Button made seven appearances for Rovers. Since then he has had spells with Barnsley and Charlton Athletic. He now plays for Brentford FC, and has made 11 appearances so far.

Jimmy O’Connor (RB)

O’Connor left Rovers at the end of the 2011/12 season, signing for Derby County. He has made 22 appearances so far for the Rams but has most recently been out on loan with Bristol City where he was managed by former Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll.

Sam Hird (CB)

Doncaster-born Hird also left Rovers at the end of the 2011/12 season. He joined Chesterfield FC, where he was made captain, and has gone on to make 53 appearances so far.

Habib Beye (CB)

Beye has been without a club since leaving Rovers in 2012.

Tommy Spurr (LB)

Spurr stuck with Rovers and was part of the 2012/13 League One winning squad. He left for Blackburn before the 2013/14 campaign and has appeared against Rovers twice this season. So far he has appeared 26 times, chipping in with two goals.

Simon Gillett (CM)

Another departure at the end of the 2011/12 season, Gillett joined Nottingham Forest where O’Driscoll was on the coaching team. Gillett remains a Forest player but has most recently been on loan at Bristol City, again being brought in by SO’D.

Brian Stock (CM)

Brian Stock left Rovers late in the pre-season leading up to the 2012/13 campaign. He joined Eddie Howe’s Burnley where he has gone on to make 33 appearances so far, including a substitute appearance at the Keepmoat earlier this season.

James Coppinger (RM)

As we all know, Coppinger remains with Doncaster Rovers and is in his ninth year at the club. He did, however, have a brief spell on loan at Nottingham Forest last season and made six appearances. He returned to Rovers and was also part of the League One Championship winning squad.

James Hayter (ST)

Hayter left Rovers following the 2011/12 season. He signed for Yeovil Town and has made 62 appearances so far, scoring 17 times. He was part of the League One Play-Off winning side as Yeovil joined Rovers in the Championship.

Billy Sharp (ST)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of days, Billy Sharp is again at Doncaster Rovers on loan for the remainder of the season. Since the Bristol City game, Sharp has made 17 appearances for Southampton and has scored nine goals. He was promoted to the Premier League with the Saints in 2012. Since then he has had a loan spell with Forest, making 39 appearances and scoring ten goals. Earlier this season, Sharp was on loan at Reading but failed to make an impact, making ten appearances and scoring only twice.

El Hadji Diouf (ST)

Diouf also left Rovers at the end of the 2011/12 season, joining Leeds United. So far he has made 40 appearances for the Elland Road side, scoring five times. There are rumours that Diouf is free to leave the club and could therefore be on the move yet again.

Where were they then?

Billy’s first game back is away at Blackpool on Saturday. We take a look at where his team mates for this game were when he left for Southampton.

Ross Turnbull (GK)

Turnbull was in the Chelsea reserved when Billy last appeared in a Rovers shirt. He made seven appearances for the Blues and joined Rovers at the start of this season.

Gabriel Tamaş (RB/CB)

Tamaş was playing in England with West Bromwich Albion. He made 45 appearances for the side before leaving for CFR Cluj last year. He joined Rovers in time to make his debut against Wigan last week.

Bongani Khumalo (CB)

South African International Khumalo was on loan at Reading from Tottenham Hotspur. He joined Rovers on loan from Spurs at the start of this season. Since 2012, Khumalo has featured for PAOK where he made 22 appearances.

Abdoulaye Méïté (CB)

Méïté was plying his trade with French side Dijon in 2012. Since then he appeared 25 times for FC Honka in 2013 before joining Rovers earlier this month.

James Husband (LB)

Husband was making his way through the Doncaster Rovers youth system when Billy was last at the club. He made his debut at Middlesbrough in 2012, quickly becoming a fan’s favourite and has gone on to score four goals in 45 appearances.

Richie Wellens

Currently in his second spell at Doncaster Rovers, Richie Wellens was a Leicester City player when Billy appeared at Ashton Gate. He made 129 appearances for the Midlands club, scoring four times.

Paul Keegan

Keegan was at Doncaster Rovers, having joined in the 2010/11 season. Breaking into the first team last season, Keegan has made 50 appearances in all, scoring once.

Mark Duffy

Mark Duffy was a Scunthorpe United player in 2012. He made 102 appearances for the Iron, scoring eight times including a free kick against Rovers last season. Duffy joined Rovers ahead of this season and has appeared 22 times so far.

Harry Forrester

Forrester joined Brentford in 2011 and made 55 appearances before joining Rovers this season. He was part of the Brentford side who were beaten to promotion in the final game of last season.

James Coppinger

He’s still here! Coppinger scored his first goal of the season against Wigan last week. Not really much else we could say.

Chris Brown

Brown was also with Doncaster Rovers when Billy left. He has made 67 appearances so far in his second stint with the club, scoring 17 times.

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Friendlies confirmed

Paul Dickov has begun preparation for next season by confirming a number of friendlies for the club.

Friendlies confirmed so far include a visit to Cannon Park to take on Retford United, which will take place on Saturday July 6th. Then, on the following Tuesday (9th July), Rovers will face another local side in the shape of Rossington Main at their Oxford Street ground.

On Saturday 27th July Rovers go on the road yet again, this time facing League One Bradford City at Valley Parade.

Information regarding further friendlies is yet to be released.

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Please feel free to let us know your views. You can contact us via Twitter (@drfcblog), Facebook (here), email ( or leave us a comment below or on any post.

We’re thick skinned so please be honest!

Paul Dickov takes over at Doncaster Rovers

Following promotion to the Championship on the final day of last season, Brian Flynn and the Doncaster board decided to make a change in the management of the club with Flynn taking up the role of ‘Director of Football’.

The change in position of Flynn, who had been in charge since February when Dean Saunders left for Wolves, meant that the manager’s position at the club was now vacant.

Doncaster Rovers allowed applications for a number of weeks before drawing up their final shortlist of four names on Friday 10th May 2013. Throughout the interview stage of the application process the bookmakers had Paul Dickov in place as firm favourite.

On Monday 20th May, John Ryan and the Doncaster board confirmed their final decision and appointed Dickov into the managerial role within the club on a one year rolling contract.

Dickov had been out of work since leaving his post at Oldham Athletic earlier in the year and is believed to have fought off tough competition to be given the Rovers’ job.

Formerly of Manchester City and Leicester City, the Scottish striker became a favourite of the fans before hanging up his boots and taking up his first managerial role at Oldham in 2010 following the departure of Dave Penney.

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Paul to Doncaster Rovers, and we wish him every success during his time at the Keepmoat.

Image credits

Paul Dickov (above) – South Yorkshire Times – Sourced from here.

Vikingsbloggen is back

Welcome to the new-look Vikingsbloggen.

We’ve been away for a while, but since we have been gone a lot has changed. Vikingsbloggen has a new look, but that’s nothing.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, Doncaster Rovers are champions of League One, and they did with a dramatic final game at Brentford.

In the 93rd minute the hosts were awarded a penalty following a scramble in the 18-yard box. Marcello Trotta stepped up and crashed his spot kick against the crossbar. After yet another scramble in the area, Paul Quinn’s pinpoint clearance found Billy Paynter, praying, on the halfway line.

One-on-one with the keeper, Paynter squared to James Coppinger who slotted home to send Rovers up as champions in the 96th minute.

What a day and what an end to the season!

v Swindon Town – Keepmoat Stadium – 01/04/2013

Swindon Town visit the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow (01/04) for Rovers’ second game within three days. Despite losing their game on Good Friday, Rovers retained top spot while Swindon’s draw with Yeovil saw them slip away from the automatic places.

Earlier in the season, Rovers and Swindon drew 1-1 at the County Ground. An early Matt Ritchie goal was cancelled out when Jim Husband’s cross was turned in by Swindon defender Danny Hollands soon after.

The Sky Sports cameras are in town for the game which will be broadcast on Sky Sports 1HD.

Swindon Town– Factfile

The Robins were founded in 1879 and won promotion from League Two at the end of last season.

Former Leicester and Liverpool midfielder, Kevin MacDonald, currently manages the side following the departure of Paolo Di Canio earlier in the season. Swindon currently occupy 4th position in League One, with four points separating them from Rovers.

He played for both…

Top scorer, Billy Paynter, played for Swindon between 2007 and 2010 scoring 45 goals in 122 appearances before leaving to join Leeds United.

Last time out at the Keepmoat Stadium

Swindon last visited the Keepmoat on 11 April 2008. Rovers won the game 2-0 with goals coming from Sean McDaid and a Brian Stock penalty.

The victory ensured Rovers lowest possible finish would see them in the play-offs.

Team News

There are no new injury concerns for Rovers going into Monday’s game.

The Man with the Whistle

Paul Tierney will take charge of tomorrow’s fixture with Swindon Town. The Lancashire official was last involved with Doncaster Rovers when they played Notts County at Meadow Lane. During this game he issued two yellow cards.

Ticket Information
Tickets are available from the ticket office at the Keepmoat Stadium, and also online.

v Coventry City – Ricoh Arena – 29/03/2013

A tough week for Coventry City culminates with the visit of Doncaster Rovers tomorrow (29/03). The past few days have been filled with speculation as to where, and whether, the game would go ahead due to the recent administration troubles within the club. It was announced, with less than 48 hours to kick off, that the game would be played at the Ricoh Arena as initially proposed.

Earlier this season, when the Sky Blues visited the Keepmoat, they managed to beat Rovers 4-1. Rovers’ solitary goal came from Chris Brown.

File:Ricoh Arena - - 141045.jpgCoventry City – Factfile

Coventry City were formed in 1883 under the name of Singers F.C. They were relegated with Rovers from the Championship at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

Currently managed by Steven Pressley, Coventry were on course for a late promotion push but financial difficulties mean they have now been deducted ten points. They are now 14th in League One, with 12 points separating them from the bottom four.

He played for both…

Franck Moussa currently plays for Coventry City. The Belgian was on loan with Rovers during the 2010/11 season. During this time he made 14 appearances, scoring twice.

Former Coventry midfielder Sammy Clingan wore the red and white hoops earlier this season.

Last time out at Glanford Park

The 2011/12 season ended with Rovers visiting the Ricoh Arena. Rovers had already been condemned to the drop and had the chance to bring Coventry with them by winning the final game, which they did so.

A Simon Gillett strike and a James Hayter penalty ensured a Rovers victory, and confirmed Coventry City’s relegation to League One.

Team News

Dean Furman returns from international duty with South Africa. Martin Woods, David Syers and Paul Keegan all remain sidelined with their respective injuries.

Defender, Paul Quinn, looks set to miss out due to a family bereavement.

The Man with the Whistle

Premier League referee, Mark Halsey, takes control of tomorrow’s game at Coventry. Halsey last took charge of a game involving Rovers was in their game with Ipswich Town at the Keepmoat in 2011. The game finished with Ipswich winning 6-0, with one penalty awarded during the game.

Ticket Information
Tickets are no longer on sale from the Keepmoat Stadium.

3-2 v Scunthorpe United – Glanford Park – 23/03/2013

Doncaster Rovers opened a gap of five points over Swindon Town yesterday, with a derby day victory over Scunthorpe United.

Over 2,000 Rovers’ fans made the short trip into Lincolnshire to see the eagerly anticipated game. Earlier in the season, Scunthorpe fell to a 4-0 defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium. Goals in that game came from David Cotterill, Billy Paynter, Rob Jones and an own goal from Christian Ribeiro.

Going into Saturday’s game, Rovers’ lead at the top of the league was only two points while the Iron were resisting the drop zone in 21st position.

Match Action

First Half

It took only five minutes for Rovers, who were playing in their white away shirt, to take the lead. David Cotterill sent in a cross from the right wing where, unchallenged, Scunthorpe’s DAVID MIRFIN passed the ball past his own keeper.

Iain Hume had a number of efforts following the goal, including beating the Scunny keeper but also the post from around three yards.

It was Hume who doubled Rovers’ lead after 39 minutes. Rob Jones found the Canadian international with a low through ball from inside his own half. HUME beat the shoddy offside trap and coolly beat Johanson in the Scunthorpe goal.

Rovers failed to take their two goal lead into the break. A free kick was awarded to the hosts and MARK DUFFY stepped up to send a curling effort into the top right hand corner of the goal. Duffy’s strike came on 41 minutes.

Half Time

Scunthorpe 1-2 Rovers

Second Half

Rovers came into the second half looking to extend their lead, and did so in the 48th minute. Excellent play on the left hand side between Tommy Spurr and James Husband eventually opened up a pass to John Lundstram in the area. Lundstram pulled the ball back for CHRIS BROWN to slot in his 11th goal of the season from close range.

There were many chances to put the game to bed for Rovers, but they failed to take advantage and, despite shots from Chris Brown and Iain Hume, allowed Scunthorpe to come back into the game.

The hosts kept pushing to cut Rovers’ advantage and their hard work paid off with five minutes to spare. A cross from the right found KARL HAWLEY who bundled home after hitting the post with his initial effort.

Rovers began to sit back, with Scunthorpe pushing for an equalizer, but they ran out of time and Rovers added an extra three points to their impressive tally to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Final Score

Scunthorpe 2-3 Rovers

Attendance – 5,288 Referee – S. Mathieson vikingsbloggen MOTM – Chris Brown

Match Rating – ****

Line Ups



Quinn Jones McCombe Spurr

Cotterill Lundstram Coppinger Husband

Brown Hume

And on the bench… Sullivan, Wakefield, Griffin, Wilson, Paynter (Hume – 82), Sinclair, Bennett.

Goalscorers – Mirfin (O.G. – 5), Hume (39), Brown (48)

Scunthorpe United


Nolan Mirfin Reid Newey

Duffy Collins Ryan Forde

Sodje Hawley

And on the bench… Severn, Ribeiro, Grella (Sodje – 71), Barcham (Forde – 53), Canavan (Mirfin – HT), Hornsey, Alabi.

Goalscorers – Duffy (41), Hawley (85)

v Scunthorpe United – Glanford Park – 23/03/2013

Over 2,000 Doncaster Rovers fans are making the short trip to Glanford Park tomorrow as the league leaders face strugglers Scunthorpe United. Rovers beat Scunthorpe earlier this season at the Keepmoat Stadium. The game finished 4-0 with goals coming from David Cotterill, Billy Paynter, Rob Jones and an O.G. from Christian Ribeiro.

Scunthorpe United – Factfile

Formed in 1899, “The Iron” currently sit in 21st spot in League One with a tally of 38 points.

So far this season at home, their form at Glanford Park includes five wins, five draws and nine defeats.

Brian Laws manages the Lincolnshire side, and is in his second spell at the helm.

He played for both…

Rovers’ club captain, Rob Jones, wore the Scunthorpe United shirt between 2009 and 2011 before leaving to ply his trade with Sheffield Wednesday.

Fellow center back, Jamie McCombe, began his professional career with “The Iron” in 2001 after being a member of their youth setup. He left the club in 2004 on a free transfer to Lincoln City.

Last time out at Glanford Park

Rovers last played at Glanford Park in a nPower Championship game in 2010. Goals from Billy Sharp (2) and Jimmy O’Connor cancelled out Martin Woolford’s early opening goal.

Team News

Midfielders Dean Furman and Cameron Howieson are both unavailable as they are on international duty with their respective nations.

John Lundstram is a doubt, having picked up an ankle injury against Portsmouth on Saturday.

The Man with the Whistle

Scott Mathieson has been given control of tomorrow’s derby game. The Cheshire official was in charge when Rovers travelled to Tranmere earlier this season. The game finished as a 2-1 victory for Rovers and Mathieson issued only one yellow card.

Ticket Information
Tickets for the game are sold out.