Rovers backed to restore Championship status

Doncaster Rovers have the firepower to make an instant return to the Championship.

This is the view of Oldham Athletic manager Paul Dickov who takes his side to the Keepmoat Stadium tonight with Rovers needing victory to go joint top with League One leaders Tranmere Rovers.

While neighbours Sheffield United have grabbed most of the headlines in South Yorkshire this season, Dean Saunders’s side have glided under the radar to sit third in the table after three wins on the bounce.

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The latest of those was a 4-0 demolition of rivals Scunthorpe United on Saturday, and Dickov is wary ahead of his side’s trip to the Keepmoat Stadium.

He said: “They have experience and goals in the team when you look at Billy Paynter, Iain Hulme and Chris Brown, as well as David Cotterill scoring regularly from midfield.

“They are a good footballing team and we know it will be tough. We have to go with the same mentality and attitude we had at Sheffield United and Crawley who were both on fantastic runs when we visited them.

“They’re in good form so we need to go there and show the resilience we have done in the last two games.”

Tonight is the first of two games between the sides this week, with the clubs drawn to meet at Boundary Park at the weekend in the FA Cup second round.

Successive wins have seen Oldham climb away from the League One drop zone, but Saunders has warned his side not to under-estimate the visitors.

Rovers have already suffered home defeats this term against Bournemouth, Crewe, Preston and Crawley.

“We can’t think that we are better than we are, we are still coming together as a team,” said Saunders.

“They are a decent team and they’ve got Matt Derbyshire and Jose Baxter, who are both very good players.

“We signed Paul (Dickov) when I was at Blackburn and I know what kind of attitude he has and will expect from his team.”

Defender Jamie McCombe is available following a back injury and virus, but full-back Andy Griffin (hamstring) is still out.

For Oldham, Jose Baxter and Cristian Montano return to the fold after serving one-match bans.

Last six games: Doncaster Rovers WLLWWW, Oldham WLLLWW.

Last time: Doncaster Rovers 1 Oldham 1; March 24, 2008; League One.

Referee: G Sutton (Lincs).