DONCASTER Rovers will be defending an unbeaten home record against Crystal Palace dating back 50 years in today’s crucial Championship relegation clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Eagles, whose home record is among the best in the league, have won just once on the road this season - away at Norwich in the first half of the season.
But they have shown signs of better things to come in their last couple of away games. They felt themselves unlucky to come away empty handed from Portman Road and they picked up a point from a 1-1 draw at Leicester last time out.
“I watched that game and they were excellent,” said Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll. “They had a game-plan and they made it difficult for Leicester, who had to be patient,”
Said Rovers’ skipper Brian Stock. “Their home form has been terrific this season and with the squad they’ve got you sort of wonder why they are down there. I think Neil Danns is one of the best players in the division. I’ve played against him for the last few years and he scores goals in addition to the other things he does.
“It is going to be a pressure game but the good thing about it is that the majority of the squad have played in pressure games before.
O’Driscoll was unusually critical of his side publicly after the 3-1 defeat at Hull City last weekend and branded his side, who had enough possession to win the game, a ‘disgrace.”
Said O’Driscoll: “It was big statement for me - I don’t do it very often - but I stand by what I said.
O’Driscoll is hoping that his comments, which ‘ruffled a few feathers’ will have the desired affect today.
Rovers will be checking on centre-back Shelton Martis, who resumed training yesterday after having treatment throughout the week after tweaking his hamstring at the KC Stadium. Right-back Mustapha Dumbuya also resumed training yesterday after missing the last two games with a tight hamstring.
Palace will be without Scott Scannell, sent-off after scoring the club’s consolation goal in their first home defeat for 13 games at the hands of Scunthorpe last weekend.
Manager Dougie Freedman, who took over from George Burley after he was sacked in January, was a member of the Leeds United team Rovers beat in their 2007-08 League One promotion play-off final at Wembley, could also be without top scorer James Vaughan.
The former Everton star faces a late fitness test on an ankle injury.