Scunthorpe United v Doncaster Rovers – ‘We now have 15 cup finals,’ says Ali Crawford

Ready for derby: Doncaster's Ali Crawford, right, challenging Crystal Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp in the FA Cup encounter.
Ready for derby: Doncaster's Ali Crawford, right, challenging Crystal Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp in the FA Cup encounter.
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HAVING plied his trade in the Championship in Scotland, Ali Crawford is desperate to sample the English variety sooner rather than later.

The Doncaster Rovers midfielder, who turns 28 in the summer, admits that reaching the second-tier with the club is proving a big motivational force for himself and his team-mates.

A memorable FA Cup run has whetted Rovers’ appetite for further high-profile games to come should they reach the Championship and the former Hamilton Academical player is hankering for more of the big stage.

Crawford said: “One of the gaffer’s main points in wanting to get me here was to get promotion. That was one of the first things he said.

“We have got a good team and, hopefully, we can get promotion this season. We are in a good position to achieve that and it is about finishing the season well and making sure we are still in the play-offs at least.

“I have got the experience from when Hamilton went up the play-offs to the (Scottish) Premier League.

We are in a good position to achieve that and it is about finishing the season well and making sure we are still in the play-offs at least.

Ali Crawford

“We now have got 15 cup finals and we still have the top four to play. But our aim is to win as many as possible and get that automatic (promotion).”

Rovers will be backed by a big travelling support at Glanford Park today, a venue where the visitors have been beaten just five times in 20 meetings – and boast an impressive nine victories.

Memorable moments have arrived along the way, 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.

Last season’s league meeting also provided drama with a stoppage-time header from Alfie Beestin earning Rovers a point in a 1-1 derby draw.

Doncaster also face a side whom they beat comfortably in the reverse fixture at the Keepmoat Stadium in December, but Crawford is expecting a different proposition this lunch-time with the Iron much improved under the command of former Bradford City chief Stuart McCall.

Crawford added: “Stuart has gone in and done a good job. When we played them last time, they were near the bottom of the league and now they are in mid-table.

“They have been doing well and we know it will be tougher than the game we had here.”