Rovers No 2 O’Kelly expects new-look Bluebirds to provide stern test

Brian Stock.
Brian Stock.
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DONCASTER Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly has seen enough of Cardiff City this season to know they’ll be a tough nut to crack on home soil in today’s Championship clash.

“I saw their opening game at West Ham on the television and I’ve probably seen them a couple of times since then,” he said. “It is going to be hard.”

Rovers suffered a 4-0 beating on their last visit to the Cardiff City Stadium.

But a number of the players on duty - including Craig Bellamy who made his debut for his hometown club that day - have since moved on.

The Bluebirds also lost strikers Jay Bothroyd, who made his England debut last season, and Michael Chopra during the summer.

But the arrival of Robert Earnshaw, for a second spell at the club, from Nottingham Forest, and Scottish international Kenny Miller, who had been playing in Turkey, means that the much-changed Welsh side will not lack firepower.

“People can make their own decision as to which is the best pairing, but which ever way you look at it all four of them are class acts and are all capable of punishing you if you aren’t switched on the day,” said O’Kelly

Manager David Jones paid the price of failure after the Bluebirds lost out in the play-offs for a second successive season and was replaced by former Watford boss Malky Mackay.

“They already had a lot of good players and Malky has recruited more good footballers and they are still a very good strong Championship football club,” said O’Kelly.

“The type of manager Malky is I don’t think that the players will be allowed to rest on their laurels from last season and they’ll be striving to go one better and judging by their performances so far this season, they’ll continue to be a threat.”

Despite playing for an hour and scoring the Doncaster goal in a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield in a practice game in midweek, Rovers’ Welsh international Brian Stock - who had a an ankle reconstruction at the end of last season - is not expected to feature.

“I was pleased how it went on Tuesday but I’ve probably come back from injury too quickly in the past and I’m not expecting to get rushed back at all on this occasion,” he said.

“Whether I’m involved or not it’s going to be a tough game for us. They may have lost the likes of Bellamy, Bothroyd and Chopra, but he (Mackay) has replaced them with quality and they are a team who are going to think that they can finish in the top six again this season.

“If we go there and give away the sort of goals we did last season then we might as well not bother turning

“But if we play like we have been playing I can’t see why we can’t get a result down there. I can’t see why we can’t turn up for any game in this league and get a result with the players we’ve got in the squad.”