Blackburn Rovers v Doncaster Rovers: Ferguson aims to test Blackburn’s mindset

Doncaster Rovers' manager Darren Ferguson.
Doncaster Rovers' manager Darren Ferguson.
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DONCASTER ROVERS have recent experience of being a side who are there to be shot at in their division – and manager Darren Ferguson believes that is the role of today’s opponents Blackburn Rovers.

Blackburn, who famously won the Premier League in 1994-95, will stage their first home third-tier game at Ewood Park since May 1980.

The novelty value extends to the sides on show, with them having been in the same division on just two occasions since the late 1950s. Rovers have never won on 11 visits to the Red Rose venue.

It certainly promises to be a slightly surreal experience for many Blackburn supporters this afternoon, given their sampling of some glory years in the top-flight in the 1990s and Noughties.

Just as Doncaster contained a number of players who, by common consent, were playing below their level in League Two last season, so Ferguson feels that League One is not the natural preserve for many of the home players or their vastly-experienced manager Tony Mowbray either for that matter.

Particularly in terms of the players handling that ‘dumbing down’ aspect that can potentially become a challenging mental issue, in the view of Ferguson.

The Doncaster chief said: “Tony is a very good manager and like the club itself and a lot of their players, he is not a League One manager, I would say.

“They have got players who are playing below where they should be, really.

“But that is the circumstances that have happened. You may say the same about us last season. But it is not easy, as we well know to turn it on and off like a tap.

“But what they have got is quality in most areas of the pitch and they have got a big squad. But like every other game, they are beatable.

“It will be a tough game and they have got some good players. But we will go there to try and win and take the game to them.

“There are certain things we will have to do very well and we will have to be organised and very good on the ball.

“Certainly, we respect them, there is no doubt about that. But we don’t fear them.”

Rovers will be picking from strength, having been boosted by the return to the fray of a quintet of players.

Liam Mandeville, James Coppinger, Andy Williams, Matty Blair and Isaam Ben Khemis are all available for the visitors, who have beaten Blackburn on just two occasions in the club’s history, stretching back 21 games.