This week The Scratching Shed welcomes Glen Wilson from Viva Rovers for a look ahead to tomorrow night’s televised Championship tie between Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United.

We’ve already seen this fixture this season – back in August in the Carling Cup, has much changed for Doncaster since then?

Yeah, just a bit. In the last three weeks the club has changed manager, and indeed its whole ethos. Out has gone the thoughtful, long-term planning of Sean O’Driscoll and in has come Dean Saunders and an embracing of doing everything for the short term. Big name players for short term fixes is apparently the new black. For all the activity off the field though the most notable change, has been the return to the side of key players; Brian Stock and Billy Sharp both returned for Saunders’ first game in charge, and are arguably more responsible for the return of seven points in our last three games.

You’ve just signed ex-England keeper Chris Kirkland on loan and you’ve been linked with a few other big name players, what’s the deal with all these signings and what’s your view on it?

On their individual merit; Herita Ilunga and Chris Kirkland are good signings in problem areas, we needed left back cover with Tommy Spurr now out injured and with Sullivan and Woods at opposite ends of the experience spectrum a talented goalkeeper is not to be sniffed at. The other signing Pascal Chimbonda I have no idea why we’ve made it, especially if funds are as limited as the board continue to insist, given that we have two able men; Mustapha Dumbuya and James O’Connor in his position. The other names the club have supposedly spoken too; Mouhamadou Diarra, Frederic Piquionne, El Hadji-Djouf are simply ridiculous. The club have stated they’re taking a new approach to signings, getting in big names on loan (or unattached players) helping them get games to put themselves in the shop window in January. The theory (from the board) is that we can only benefit from this. Personally I think its very risky as it stands to upset those already in the squad and disjoint the set-up. After all its the players we already have who’ve gained the points. Incidentally Chimbonda, and reportedly Kirlkland, are clients of Willie McKay, agent to Dean Saunders. McKay is being used (supposedly on a nominal fee of £100 a week) to help scout such players. He may not be making much off them while they’re here, but of course if the ‘shop window’ approach works then he’ll earn some pocket money from it. For a club thats long been able to take pride in how it conducts itself, its all a bit too murky for my liking and it makes me and other supporters more than a little uncomforatble

You had a dodgy start to the season but results have picked up since the departure of Sean O’Driscoll. Did you agree with his sacking?

No I didn’t, and I’d argue that the results have picked up since the return of Sharp, Stock and others to the line-up rather than ‘since O’Driscoll’s sacking’. O’Driscoll was a world away from other football managers, no time for cliche or soundbites or the hyperbole of the press. He had a measured and inteligent approach and we’ll never see anyone of his ilk again at Rovers. He was structuring the club for the long-term, a strategy that was always likely to be abandoned by whoever took over from him.

What have you made of Dean Saunders as manager so far?

In all honesty its too early to tell. He had three games in eight days, starting the afternoon after he was appointed so I can’t see his approach to the games so far as anything other than playing the percentages. We’ve put in three woeful first half perfoemances where we’ve looked devoid of ideas, knowing that we should be doing something different to what we were doing, but we’re not quite sure what. Thankfully, the second halves have generally been better and we’ve also benefitted from a hell of a lot of luck, notably at Peterborough and at home to Palace where we could have been conceivably both a goal and a man down in fifteen minutes. Hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll start to see exactly what Saunders has in mind and aims to do.

Where do you realistically expect to finish this season?

Realistically I expect Rovers to finish in the bottom ‘quarter’ of the league, and I suspect thats where we will finish.

Who should we be keeping an eye out for in the Doncaster side on Friday night?

Its hard to predict how Saunders will play it now he’s had two match-free weeks to work with his side. As you would have seen in the League Cup game Kyle Bennett is an impressive talent on the ball, though he’s likely to start from the bench. Billy Sharp is the chief threat of course, but then thats a given. If Ilunga plays then keep an eye on George Friend at his now more favoured centre-back position, fast becoming the best player we’ve got (so, expect an own goal from him, now I’ve whacked that curse on the guy).

If you could sign any current Leeds player for Doncaster, who would it be?

Ramon Nunez, without a doubt. I spent the end of last year bemoaning the injustice of Scunthorpe having his talent on their books, and wrote it off to Nunez going there as reconisance for the Honduran steel industry. His two goals at Doncaster in the League Cup showed just how much talent he has and I remain perplexed at how little game time he seems to get at Elland Road.

Finally, what’s your prediction for the game?

I have no idea, I struggle with predictions at the best of time, but have absolutely no clue as to how Rovers will play this one. Lets go for 4-4, Chris Kirkland picking up a knock that rules him out for three months as the fourth Leeds goal goes in.

Find out all the latest football odds at bwinbetting.com for upcoming Leeds United games. Do you think the side will win? Think you know what score it will be? Come and put a bet on it with bwinbetting!

  • TSS

    Don’t think many Leeds fans would be surprised if it finished 4-4 given our penchant for high-scoring fixtures. 

  • zain

    I think we will win 2-0 and keep a second clean sheet.Does anyone know snoddy if fit?

  • zain

    Sorry, does anyone know if snoddy is fit?

  • Geoff852

    It looks like Willie McKay has had a big influence on the Doncaster Board and managed to secure a few short term loans of one or two big names.  As to a prediction its any ones guess but I expect it to be high scoring with Doncaster edging it (4-2).

    Geoff 

  • Ron Galea

    Amusing chat about Nunez and the Honduran steel industry. I have an awful feeling Billy Sharp will terrorise us. Players we nearly buy or release always score against us.

  • Matthew

    Doncaster aren’t even a threat, we beat them the past few meetings.

    There is just no way Doncaster are winning this game, they have a dreadful team bar a few players who have some quality.

    I’m thinking Leeds United 3, Doncaster Rovers 1 or 2.

    We’ve played and beaten much better teams thus far in this league people.

    • Matthew

      Oh and speaking of the loan players Doncaster have, I’m not impressed.

      Mr 1 goal in 15 games Jon Parkin (Scary…)
      Mr attacking midfielder/forward with 0 goals in 16 games Ryan Mason
      Mr surplus to West Hams needs Hérita Ilunga
      And lastly a kid from Chelsea aged 18 Milan Lalkovič

      Besides the goalkeeper, thats 2 players who couldn’t hit a barndoor, a guy that isn’t good enough for West Ham(That team we should of beaten and outplayed) and a kid from Chelsea.

      • Leonickroberts

        I’m not sure you know mate. I agree that we’ve got a far more talented team, and that they’re not much cop in front of goal, but the team and crowd’ll be really up for this, and they’re on a high from picking up points recently. I’m not saying we’re gonna lose, just that we’ve lost to equally sh’t teams so many times by underestimating them i’m not going to make the same mistake with county rivals.

        • Matthew

          It doesn’t matter how up for it Doncaster are, they won’t win this game and we’l be in 5th place come 10pm tonight.

          I’m equally shocked that Doncaster fans think they can put 4 goals past us, since when exactly can a team like Doncaster score 4 goals? Yet alone 4 goals past us? I mean seriously they couldn’t score 4 goals past anyone last season nor could they this season. The team is a joke.

          As you can tell I don’t rate Doncaster at all, my reaction would be different if we were playing a quality team tonight, we’re not. No amount of barn door billy loan strikers and cast offs from other teams will make them beat us.

  • Paddy1992

    Matthew please don’t mock there players. I agree on some of your points but let’s not forget big jon Parkin terrorised us last season and even got a standing ovation from us when subbed in the Preston debacle. That said I’m not a bit worried about tonight 3 1 Leeds my prediction.

  • Anonymous

    They will be fired up as you would expect ,its their biggest game since Saunders came in its on the box and a derby ??? of sorts ..There are no guarantees  here for either side ,we know our failings ..
    i have got at the moment to a mind set of ,a draw will be fantastic a win is a bonus a win with a clean sheet is a luxury ..

    Like to think we can win at Donny 1-0 now would be fantastic ,think they have a goal in em so my prediction 2-1 becchio to start !!

  • Jay

    3-1 to the Leeds.

    MOT

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  • Ingham 51

    I think a Leeds 2-0 win might quieten our neighbours from south Yorkshire
    McCormack Becchio with the goals
    Ps how do u get on the forum now only way 2 get your prediction on is this way

  • JonnybBee

    Leeds to snatch an undeserving but great on paper 0-2 win

  • zain

    Great performance tonight and another cleen sheet! Mccormack scored a brilliant goal and he is showing what we left out in the reserves last year

  • MattBB1

    i was surprised to see Doncaster roll over that way, but we were rather impressive! i cant think of any position to moan about needing cover for, but I am still quietly worried about our centre backs, inasmuch as what happens if one of them gets injured! do we bring in Gimpel?

    • Matthew

      What part surprised you? Doncaster being a lightweight team with a lightweight midfield/defense, or the fact we(Leeds) had so much fire power on the pitch and pretty much F’d Doncaster in the butt with our amazing skills.

      There was never any doubt of us losing this game or even drawing, if you’ve seen Leeds play against Doncaster, or at their best you would of known without a doubt we had this game in the bag.