DONCASTER ROVERS are just five days away from their biggest FA Cup game in over half a century, but it is the last thing currently in manager Grant McCann’s thoughts.
Cup fever will soon descend upon Doncaster, with the Match of the Day cameras due in town on Sunday to screen their first appearance in the last 16 of the Cup since February 1956 when they play host to Premier League visitors Crystal Palace, but McCann believes that Rovers’ bigger game is coming up tonight.
Fresh from Saturday’s excellent 3-1 victory over Peterborough United, Doncaster – who have leapfrogged Posh into the final play-off position in League One – can move four points clear of Darren Ferguson’s side with a game in hand if they triumph this evening.
It represents a considerable incentive for Rovers with McCann refusing to tolerate any Cup talk among his players until after the final whistle this evening.
It is a wise philosophy with McCann’s side facing a mid-table Southend outfit who have picked up more points on the road than they have at Roots Hall so far this season.
As for Rovers’ looming Cup date, McCann, whose side boast an impressive unbeaten nine-match record at the Keepmoat Stadium in all competitions stretching back to October 23 heading into tonight’s test, said: “I have not thought about it.
“It is easy to lose focus, but we just want to make sure we focus on this game as it is more important, it really is. Winning the game would put us in a really healthy position in the league, but to win a game you have got to perform to the highest standard.
“We are coming up against a Southend side who are dangerous. They drew at Charlton with ten men and went to Bradford and won 4-0. They have picked up some really good results away from home.
“We are under no illusions about how tough it is going to be.
“In the first game of the season it is no exaggeration to say that they should have been six- or seven-nil up in the first half.”
Last six games: Doncaster WLDWDW Southend LLWLLD.
Referee: A Backhouse (Cumbria).
Last time: Doncaster 4 Southend 1; October 7, 2017; League One.