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.

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