Today’s LUNCH-TIME encounter may lack the crowd numbers and marquee status of the footballing occasion which Doncaster Rovers participated in exactly a decade ago, but the prize could be a similarly considerable one.
Ten years ago today, Rovers triumphed 3-2 against Bristol Rovers at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in front of just over 59,000 fans to lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, thanks to Graeme Lee’s extra-time header.
It proved a wholly memorable occasion for everyone connected with the club and if events transpire a certain way at Blundell Park this afternoon, it could be another red-letter day for Rovers against a side who were fierce rivals of the club back in the late eighties.
On their first league visit to the Mariners in just over 27 years, Rovers will be promoted if they win, fourth-placed Stevenage lose at home to Barnet and Luton Town and Blackpool draw in their fixture at Kenilworth Road.
It remains to be seen if the results permutations work out for Rovers – who will stride out in front of an expectant sell-out contingent of away fans today (1pm).
But one thing that Darren Ferguson is sure about is that his side will relish the challenge at the start of an April run-in which also sees Rovers face the play-off chasing quintet of Mansfield Town, Colchester United, Blackpool, Wycombe Wanderers and Exeter City before rounding off the season with a trip to Hartlepool United.
We have a really tough run-in, but they all have that added spice and the other team will have pressure on them and even Grimsby can get in the play-offs.Doncaster Rovers’ Darren Ferguson
Boss Ferguson, who is sweating on the fitness of midfielder Conor Grant, said: “You have got to enjoy these challenges, because you don’t know how many more times you will get them in your career.
“The players are enjoying it at the moment. When you look at the games we have got left, they are all going to have an edge to them, which might be a good thing.
“We have a really tough run-in, but they all have that added spice and the other team will have pressure on them and even Grimsby can get in the play-offs. It might be a good thing for us.”