DONCASTER Rovers will be looking to record their first ever double over Portsmouth in Saturday’s Championship clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Their prospects could be boosted by the return of James Coppinger, Matthew Kilgallon and Mark Wilson.
All three players were expected to resume training today.
Coppinger scored one of the goals in Rovers’ 3-2 win at Fratton Park - their first ever success at the ground - in November.
Despite the fact that Portsmouth have not done as well as expected in the Championship following their relegation from the top flight last season, Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly is expecting another tough game.
“There are no easy games at this level,” he said.
“They are very dangerous from set-pieces. They’ve also got four or five front players, such as Kitson, Nugent, Kanu and Lawrence, who have all played in the Premier Division, so they still have an awful lot of quality.”
Lawrence, who turned out for Rovers earlier in his career, missed the game between the two sides at Fratton Park, due to suspension.
He will be one of the Pompey players to be singled out by the Rovers’ management in the pre-match build-up.
“He is one of those midfield players I suppose who is like James Coppinger,” said O’Kelly.
“He scores goals and he creates goals and I would think that when he plays in a game the ratio of scoring opportunities increase.
“Because of what he gives them Lawrence is quite an important player for them.”
Rovers suffered the disappointment of a stoppage-time defeat in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Millwall and O’Kelly warns that Portsmouth will pose a similar threat.
“One of the things about Portsmouth is that they go for 90 minutes plus,” he said.
“When we played them at their place we got the goals at the right time. But even when we were 2-0 up at half-time we didn’t feel that we were safe, and so it proved.
“They are very resilient and they came back to level at 2-2 and looked at one stage as though they might win it.
“It is in their nature; it is in manager Steve Cotterill’s nature. They have an ‘up and at ‘em’ attitude and because of that they are always a dangerous opponent.”
The visitors have dropped to 20th in the table having picked up just two points this year.
Defender Wayne Thomas continues to make progress and O’Kelly expects him to be back in full training within a week or so.