Preview: Ebbsfleet United v Doncaster Rovers - Threat of FA Cup banana skin should focus ‘reactive’ Rovers

Darren Ferguson
Darren Ferguson
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What Doncaster Rovers really need now is a reaction to a reaction.

And a banana-skin FA Cup tie should produce just that - because you can bet your bottom dollar they will be fully switched on for this weekend’s tricky first round assignment at Ebbsfleet.

No full-time professional worth his salt ever wants to suffer the embarrassment of defeat to non-league opposition.

So that should sharpen a few minds in the Rovers camp as they attempt to put their consistency issues to bed and continue what, Walsall aside, has been a fairly positive few weeks.

At Bury, Rovers again showed they are capable of digging out a result when they really need one.

However their LWLWLW sequence in their last six league games almost perfectly illustrates the story of this season so far.

This weekend’s break from the bread and butter is a great opportunity to get another W next to their name and take some momentum into the following week’s eagerly-anticipated home derby with Rotherham.

However, they will have a problem at Stonebridge Road on Saturday if anyone inside the camp takes their eye off the ball and thinks for one second that Rovers can just go there and stroll through to the second round.

Now is a time for Darren Ferguson’s men to continue digging deep, to continue playing with plenty of heart and desire, and re-discover that genuine ruthless streak that saw them to promotion last season.

Ahead of this weekend, Ferguson said: “They’ve got nothing to lose. There’ll be some shocks on Saturday and we’ve got to make sure it’s not us.

“We’ve had them watched a couple of times and they’ve got some big lads in their team, they’ll be a threat from set pieces and things like that.

“We’ll be well prepared, as we are for any other game, but obviously we’ve got to go there and start the game well and make sure our quality shines through.

“We know it’s going to be a difficult game. These games always are.

“We’ll make sure we apply ourselves properly for it.”

n Rodney Kongolo has been called up for Holland U20s and will miss next week’s game with Rotherham.

TEAM NEWS

Darren Ferguson will revert to almost the same side that won at Bury.

Ben Whiteman is pushing for a recall after coming off the bench to score the winner at Gigg Lane.

Joe Wright is struggling with a hamstring issue.

Probable (3-4-3): Lawlor; Alcock, Butler, Baudry; Kongolo, Houghton, Whiteman, Toffolo; Rowe, Coppinger, Marquis.

LAST MEETING

Gravesend & Northfleet 2 Rovers 2, September 24, 2002

Paul Barnes’ last minute equaliser earned Rovers a draw in the only previous meeting of these two sides in Kent.

THE OPPOSITION

Manager: Daryl McMahon

Position: 13th in National League

Star man: Danny Kedwell

HISTORY LESSON

2007 was the year it all changed for the Fleet. First, in May 2007, 61 years after the formation of Gravesend & Northfleet, the club announced a change of name to Ebbsfleet United to take advantage of the massive regeneration of their locality.

Then in November 2007, it was announced that the club was to be taken over by internet venture MyFootballClub.co.uk, a revolutionary idea involving paid members owning the club, voting on decisions and picking the team, a deal that was ratified in February 2008.

As membership declined, in May 2013, a purchase proposal from a Kuwaiti company, KEH Sports Ltd, was put to MyFC who voted to sell their interests in the Fleet and so began a new era for the club as it pulled back from the brink of closure.

FA CUP RECORD

Ebbsfleet have made it through to the first round proper for the first time in five seasons.

Rovers went out at the first round stage last seaon - at Oldham - for the first time in 10 years.

FORM GUIDE

Ebbsfleet: LDWWLD

Rovers: WLWLWD

MATCH ODDS

Ebbsfleet 3/1 Draw 13/5 Rovers 17/20