Match Preview: Doncaster Rovers (H)
EFL League Two
The Hive London
Saturday, January 14, 2017 – KO 3pm
Team News: Jamie Stephens (groin) was substituted early in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Leyton Orient and is a doubt for tomorrow’s match. Bira Dembele (calf) also missed out.
Otherwise it is only long-term absentees Michael Gash (knee), Shaun Batt (hamstring), Ben Tomlinson (quad) and James Pearson (knee) who are missing.
Last Time We Met: The Bees lost 3-2 in the final moments at Doncaster Rovers in October as Andy Williams poked past Josh Vickers at the near post to win it for the home side.
A fine volley from James Coppinger and a well-taken finish on the run from Matty Blair had Rovers 2-0 up after 32 minutes and seemingly en-route to three points at the Keepmoat Stadium.
However, in the 63rd minute Bira Dembele headed home a Sam Muggleton throw to spark a comeback from Martin Allen’s men.
From another Muggleton hurl John Akinde squared for Luke Gambin to shoot low past Marko Marosi to level with four minutes to spare.
But the Bees were undone in injury time when Williams guided home a cross to the near post.
Manager: Darren Ferguson, 44, was appointed Rovers boss in October 2015 but could not stop the Yorkshire outfit slipping into League Two at the end of his first season at the helm.
The son of ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex, Darren began his managerial career with Peterborough United in 2008 and won the League Two title in his first season in the hotseat.
He won three promotions with the Posh across two spells, taking the club from League Two to the Championship in the process. He also won the Football League Trophy in 2014.
A less successful period with Preston North End was sandwiched between two reigns at Peterborough, the second of which ended in 2015 with the club faltering in League One.
Ferguson has enjoyed the perfect first half a season at the Keepmoat, re-building the Doncaster squad after relegation and lifting Rovers to the summit.
Dangerman: Striker John Marquis, 24, has 13 goals in 24 league starts for Rovers since joining from Millwall on a free transfer in the summer.
The Lewisham born forward joined local side Millwall as a youngster and spent seven years as a professional at The Den, making just 20 starts and scoring five times for the south Londoners.
In that time Marquis took in nine separate loan spells, three of them coming at Northampton Town – for whom he scored six times in 13 league starts as the Cobblers won the EFL League Two title last season.
Marquis had not scored in five games before Friday’s 3-1 win over Portsmouth – his worst run of an otherwise fine season – before striking twice against one of his former loan sides.
Connections: Former Wales international John Oster spent time with both Barnet and Doncaster Rovers towards the end of his career.
The winger turned midfield playmaker made 120 appearances for Rovers between 2009 and 2012 before linking up with Barnet following his release.
In his single season at Underhill the classy midfield schemer made 28 appearances and scored twice as the Bees were relegated from the Football League.
Another midfielder to play for both sides was John Doolan, now 42.
A fee of £60,000 brought him to Underhill from Mansfield Town in 1998 and Doolan clocked up 201 appearances as a Bee before moving north to join Rovers in 2003.
Striker Alex Peterson spent rather less time with boss sides; his Bees career amounting to one substitute outing during the second half of the 2013/14 campaign while on loan from Doncaster. He made six appearances, five from the bench, for Rovers.
Last Time Out: A brace from striker John Marquis helped Rovers pick up a 3-1 win over fellow promotion hopefuls Portsmouth last Friday.
Playing against his former club, Marquis headed Doncaster in front early after five minutes Kal Naismith equalised four minutes before the break with a low shot.
However, Tommy Rowe restored Doncaster’s lead in the 58th minute with an effort which nestled in the top corner.
And, 19 minutes from the end, Doncaster clinched the win when Marquis volleyed home from 12 yards.
Doncaster Rovers (4-5-1): Marosi; Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Mason; Coppinger, Grant, Houghton, Blair, Rowe; Marquis.
Ticket info: Supporters can order tickets for tomorrow’s match from our online box office or by arriving early and buying on the day from The Hive Ticket Office.