Scunthorpe United v Doncaster Rovers: McCann keen for Rovers to maintain momentum

Manager Grant McCann does not want to make too many changes to his Doncaster Rovers line-up after successive victories.
Manager Grant McCann does not want to make too many changes to his Doncaster Rovers line-up after successive victories.
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Glanford Park has witnessed many memorable moments for Doncaster Rovers in the years since the club’s first visit back in the late Eighties.

It is a venue where Rovers have been beaten just five times in 19 meetings, with highlights among eight victories including a four-goal haul from Micky Norbury in a 5-0 rout in 1994, a wonder goal from mercurial winger Kieron Brady in a 1-0 triumph in 1992-93 and a late winner from Graeme Lee in the 2005-06 campaign.

Big away contingents have witnessed plenty more besides, including a dramatic stoppage-time diving header from Alfie Beestin in a 1-1 derby draw in January, with footage replayed countless times on social media by ecstatic Rovers followers.

It represented one of the high points for last season for Rovers, alongside a first visit to the Emirates to face Arsenal last September, with almost 5,000 fans heading to North London for a Carabao Cup third-round tie.

That autumnal night, when Rovers gave an excellent account of themselves in a narrow 1-0 loss when they were beaten but very much unbowed, provides all the incentive they require ahead of the start of their cup season this evening.

The Iron’s home is a place that Rovers’ manager Grant McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne know very well. Both are former players with the latter having a particularly long and fruitful association with the club, who he used to captain.

But tonight will be all about trying to instigate another sweet derby memory for Rovers, unbeaten on their last six trips to this corner of North Lincolnshire for an M180 fixture.

McCann, whose Rovers reign has started off with two morale-boosting wins that have yielded six goals, said: “I have seen the goal that Alfie scored last year in the last minute.

“I saw the reaction of the fans from different angles. We know what it is about and it is a cup game and we want to try and progress.

“A cup run would be beneficial for the club financially and the fans all like cup runs.

“There was the cup run which they were on last season when the club travelled to Arsenal.

“It is excellent. I was involved in the FA Cup last year and we went with Peterborough to face Aston Villa at Villa Park and we beat them comfortably and then we had Leicester on the TV. You can get a live game on Sky and something like that.”

Rovers’ Carabao Cup fortunes last season saw them eliminate fellow Yorkshire teams Bradford City and Hull City to earn a glamour trip to Arsenal and a similar run 12 months on would be gratefully accepted.

“This competition is an opportunity for us to get a big team away from home or a lovely night down at the Keepmoat with three, four or five thousand away fans coming,” the Rovers manager added.

“Financially it would be great.”

After two vibrant early results McCann is keen to build further momentum and will field a strong side this evening, while also being mindful of the local significance of the fixture.

One player definitely missing is Alex Kiwomya, out with a hamstring problem that saw him undergo a scan yesterday.

McCann said: “I think the last thing you want to do is make seven or eight changes and kill the whole momentum. People are in good form.

“The last thing we want to do now is have a rest. There will be one who we have to look after a bit who will not even travel who started the game (on Saturday). But the rest will be available.

“The mood is very good. When you have a winning mentality, you want that spreading from the Under-18s up. They have also started the season brightly.

“We are trying to create that and keep it as long as possible.”

Last six games: Scunthorpe WDDLWD Doncaster LDDLWW.

Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne and Wear).

Last time: Scunthorpe 1 Doncaster 1; January 23, 2018; League One.