League One Games/Goals: 40/19
A man who needs no introduction to fans in the third tier is Donny’s top scorer John Marquis. The giant centre forward has hit twenty-two goals for Rovers already this term, with an impressive strike rate of a goal every other game.
There was a strong indication that he almost moved to Wearside in January before our last minute scramble to secure the services of Will Grigg, although whether he was the player that felt a move to Sunderland would entitle him to double his wages is unknown.
The Lewisham-born striker is a handful for most League One defenders but is going through a dry spell, scoring only one goal in his last ten games. That said, who else would you rather come up against than a team that has just shipped five goals to Coventry?
The calls to change the defensive partnership of Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin will be ringing loudly in the ears of Jack Ross, but even without Saturday’s defensive debacle, it may be an idea to pit the strength and height of Jimmy Dunne against Marquis as we search for the all important three points.
League One Games/Goals: 34/4
On-loan midfielder Herbie Kane was named in the EFL League One team of the year, and is a player manager Grant McCann labelled as “a special talent” that is “going to have some career” - and with the 20-year-old already having comparisons to Steven Gerrard, he may just be right.
The midfield only returned to first team action at the weekend, coming off the bench to play a starring role in Doncaster’s 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle, but his manager has already indicated he has no qualms about throwing him back into the starting eleven this Friday night such is his quality and importance to Donny’s promotion push.
Calm in possession, his ability to see a pass is evidence of his potential to perform at much higher than the third tier and he will be relishing coming up against the likes of the experienced Grant Leadbitter in the Sunderland engine room - winning that particular battle could go a long way in deciding the outcome of Friday night’s game.
League One Games/Goals: 40/4
The Doncaster Rovers legend is living proof that age is simply but a number and at 38 years of age he is showing, at least when it comes to play-making, there’s no substitute for experience.
Coppinger started in Sunday league football before he was picked up at 16 by the Newcastle United academy, making his professional debut under Bobby Robson in 2000. After struggling to break into the first team at St. James Park he joined Exeter and spent two years there before moving to Yorkshire with Doncaster, where he’s remained for an unbelievable fifteen years.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Coppinger has thirteen assists this term, making him League One’s top assist maker and absolutely paramount to Doncaster’s consistent placing in the play-off spots, as well as being a huge aid to John Marquis’ fabulous season in front of goal.
With almost six hundred Doncaster appearances and close to seventy goals, he will be looking to add to his memorable time at the club by winning at the Stadium of Light to almost confirm his side’s place in the end of season play-offs.