WHOLESALE changes will abound tonight as Rotherham United and Doncaster Rovers return to Checkatrade Trophy action.
The second of three group games involving the south Yorkshire duo take place as the Millers host Chesterfield and Rovers take on Sunderland Under-21s.
Both clubs drew their opening fixture, though Doncaster have two points to United’s one after winning their penalty shoot-out at Grimsby Town. Rotherham lost 4-2 in their own shoot-out against Manchester City’s youngsters, having been pegged back in stoppage-time.
Victory tonight, therefore, against a Spireites side under new manager Jack Lester for the first time would boost the club’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage. Manager Paul Warne, though, has one eye on Saturday’s League One trip to Rochdale.
“I will make changes,” said the Millers’ chief about the 7pm kick-off. “I appreciate that Chesterfield have just changed their management team and might look at the game differently to me.
“I want to win, obviously, but there will be certain players I won’t risk in that encounter. It will give fans a chance to look at a few players who have been on the periphery this season.
“I think there is a very good chance supporters will have their first sight of Manny Onariase in a first-team shirt.”
One player who will not feature is David Ball, who scored against Manchester City on August 15, as he continues to recover from hamstring trouble and a spell of tonsillitis.
“I feel for him,” added Warne. “He was the most impressive player in pre-season and, around the place, everyone loves him. I would love to throw him on for half an hour, but the medical people think he should train for a few more days. I will have to do as they wish and probably leave him until Saturday.”
Doncaster’s manager Darren Ferguson named just two of the previous weekend’s starting XI against Grimsby and it is likely to be a similar story tonight.
“I will make as many changes as I can possibly make,” said Ferguson, who expects goalkeeper Ian Lawlor to return on Saturday. “September has been a tough month and a lot of games.”
Bradford City are not in Trophy action until Manchester City’s youngsters visit Valley Parade on October 24.