Bolton Wanderers Opponent Bio: Doncaster Rovers

Final Day Hero James Coppinger - Mike Hewitt

On the back of two disappointing (and goalless) defeats, Bolton Wanderers welcome Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers. The home side need a victory to alleviate the pressure that is growing at the club. Former Manchester City striker Paul Dickov brings his side to the Reebok after a satisfying point away at Birmingham and will be hoping to take advantage of Bolton’s home vulnerabilities.

Doncaster Rovers were formed in 1879 and competed in local leagues as well as the formative years of the FA Cup; the club joined the Football League in 1901 but were soon voted out of the league due to poor finishes. The club did return for one season but a horrendous campaign where the club amassed just 8 points saw the Yorkshire club unelected again. After the First World War the club were re-formed as a new limited company and allowed to re-join the Football League and compete in the third tier in the 1923-24 season.

The clubs post-war history is one of battling in the bottom two divisions.  They have not won a major trophy. Notable parts of Doncaster's history include the longest ever football match played against Stockport County in 1946. That was the season in which they won the English Football Third Division with a club-record 33 wins. A famous name at the time was Northern Ireland Iinternational goalkeeper Harry Gregg, most famous amongst Bolton Wanderers fans as the goalkeeper who tried to con the referee, going down after minimal contact from Nat Lofthouse as the legendary Wanderers forward scored in the 1958 FA Cup final.

The modern day Doncaster Rovers have progressed significantly, this is in spite of former majority shareholder, Ken Richardson's famed actions in 1998. When Rovers were refused planning and financial support for a new Stadium, Richardson conspired to burn down the existing ground, Belle Vue, for financial gain and was jailed for four years. At the time, the off-the-field turmoil severely affected the clubs on field performance and let to their relegation to the Football League Conference, where they remained for five years.

As is the case for many provincial clubs, Doncaster Rovers' rise came with off-the-pitch investment and under long-term manager Dave Penney, Rovers finally re-entered the Football League with a conference play-off win and achieved back-to-back promotions by winning the fourth tier a year later. The club would move to it's new stadium The Keepmoat on New Years Day 2007 with a match against Huddersfield Town and would welcome Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup Third Round six days later with The Whites running out 4-0 winners. A memorable year for Rovers would be capped off with a Football League Trophy win at The Millenium Stadium in Cardiff with an extra-time victory over Bristol Rovers.

Promotion to the Championship soon followed for the Yorkshire side, under the management of Sean O'Driscoll, after beating Leeds 1-0 in a League One Play-Off Final. The Club initially stabilised at this level, managing two respectable mid-table finishes, however, after narrowingly avoiding relegation in the 2010-11 season, they finished bottom the following year, O'Driscoll was sacked early into the campaign and replaced by Dean Saunders who quite memorably attempted to change Doncaster's fortunes by signing reputable players on lows wages and short-term deals, allowing them to create a platform for other clubs, this included Wanderers cult hero, El-Hadji Diouf, who subsequently joined rivals Leeds United.

The following season, Doncaster Rovers re-grouped and were promoted to the Championship in dramatic fashion under Brian Flynn. This was after Saunders left for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship (Ha). With seconds to go, on-loan Fulham Striker Marcello Trotta fired a penalty on to the crossbar only for long-serving Doncaster midfielder James Coppinger to secure promotion from the following counter attack. After securing promotion, Flynn moved into a Director of Football position and was replaced by Paul Dickov, recently sacked by Oldham Athletic.

So far this campaign, Doncaster have amassed 20 points and find themselves in 15th position and should be quite content with how their season is faring.

STATS: (League)


GOALS: Chris Brown 5

ASSISTS: David Coppinger 2

SHOTS: Chris Brown 11

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