Colchester v Doncaster: Rovers eye perfect ten as final week offers chance for League Two club to complete the EFL comeback story of the season

A PREVIOUS late-season appointment with Colchester United was synonymous for all the wrong reasons for Doncaster Rovers.

The Essex outfit provided the opposition for the club’s final game in the Football League at the end of 1997-98 before dropping into the Conference - the final on-pitch act in one of the most torrid seasons ever experienced by a league club.

Ahead of that game, at Rovers’ former Belle Vue home, a mock-funeral cortege headed from the nearby Park Hotel to the old ground.

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A lone bugler played the Last Post ahead of kick-off as Rovers fans contemplated saying goodbye to the club, brought to its knees by the reviled regime of Ken Richardson, for good.

Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Mercifully, Rovers were revived over time and this century has been far more uplifting.

That said, many at the club were fearful of an unwanted Conference reunion as recently as early February, when Doncaster were third from bottom.

What has followed since has been astonishing and their latest game with Colchester is much richer in potential than that infamous one almost 26 years ago.

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If Rovers win or draw against the U's, they will move into the play-offs ahead of Saturday’s final-day trip to Gillingham.

Rovers are on a magnificent nine-match winning run and have lost just once in their last 16 games, winning 12. They are producing the EFL’s comeback story of the season.

Boss Grant McCann said: "It's a 46-game season. People like to throw statements out at you the first half of the season but ultimately it's where you finish.

"That's the be-all and end-all. I've said that all along. For us we just move onto the next one, that's it.

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"We've certainly got momentum and there's real belief. I can see it in their eyes."

That was showcased on Saturday when they cast aside a tough first half, when they trailed 2-1, to turn things around following a dramatic finale against Barrow in their final home match of the season - when they scored three late goals.

Rovers face a U’s side, managed by ex-Huddersfield Town chief Danny Cowley, who need a point to confirm their EFL status.