Doncaster Rovers will look to climb off the foot of the table and record a third win in four matches, to pile further pressure on fellow strugglers Ipswich Town, in an all-important clash at the bottom on Tuesday night.
Since the conclusion to their 2003/04 promotion campaign, some 18 years ago – Doncaster have only played their football in the fourth tier for one season, when they were automatically promoted in 2016/17 at the first time of asking.
However, it’s been a problematic start to the season for Rovers, as they prop up the Sky Bet League One table with just four points from eight matches.
Half of the last 10 meetings between Doncaster and Ipswich have come in the Sky Bet Championship, which looks a daunting distance from the current state of affairs for both of these clubs, who occupy places in the League One relegation zone.
After two spells at Rovers during his playing career, Richie Wellens returned to the club as manager at the Keepmoat Stadium, but it’s been a challenging and underwhelming start to life in the dugout of his former club.
Wellens was appointed at the helm in May 2021, and has managed 12 matches for Rovers since his appointment, yielding a 16.7% win rate in that time. It’s been a horror start for Donny, with a disastrous four goals after eight matches – the worst in the division.
A late winner against Morecambe earlier this month ended an eight match run without a win in all competitions, and Wellens’ side need to seize their opportunity for a second taking of maximum points this season, at Portman Road on Tuesday evening.
Doncaster have been limp in the final third, but will eye the chance of unlocking the Tractor Boys leaky defence. Ipswich have the worst defensive record in the league, conceding an average of two goals per match, at 16 in eight, and are yet to taste victory on home soil this season.
With shining lights such as John Marquis, Ben Whiteman and Kieran Sadlier helping Rovers into lofty League One positions in years past, the results transpiring this season need to alter, ensuring they’re not dragged into a dog fight at the opposing end of the division.
The hosts boast seven wins from the last 10 meetings between the two clubs, but with the importance of avoiding defeat so vital, a cagey spectacle is expected to be played out at Portman Road. Although a win won’t be enough to lift Wellens and Donny out of the drop zone, it will build on their form and give them confidence heading into some favourable fixtures.