BIG MATCH BUILD-UP: Rovers cannot let lightning strike twice at Barnsley

Rovers' boss Paul Dickov.
Rovers' boss Paul Dickov.

Almost exactly two years ago Doncaster went to Oakwell and delivered the most tepid of displays of Dean Saunders’ short but eventful reign.

Rovers barely mustered a shot on goal and hardly strung two passes together in the process.

To add to their derby day misery Adam Lockwood was sent off as Barnsley coasted to a 2-0 victory.

Just five more wins, and an almost inevitable relegation, followed.

Spookily Doncaster have the same 12 points now that they had on the board that mid-November in 2011, albeit they’ve played three games fewer this time around.

Needless to say, defeat this weekend won’t decide Doncaster’s fate.

Far from it.

But psychologically this South Yorkshire scrap has the potential to have a major bearing on the battle at the bottom of the Championship.

Should the worst happen on Saturday, and Rovers succumb to a fourth straight defeat, then it’s fair to say that Paul Dickov’s honeymoon period will be well and truly over.

Should Rovers repeat the limp performance of two years ago, in a game that carries extra meaning for supporters, Dickov will be staring at his first crisis since his move over the Pennines.

Win it on the other hand and it could prove to be Rovers’ rocket launcher.

Suddenly, they’ll really fancy their chances of doing a job on Yeovil and Charlton later this month and moving clear of trouble.

Dickov did not get the reaction he hoped for during a drab first half display against Brighton on Saturday.

A repeat is out of the question this weekend.

Rovers fans will forgive their team if they go down fighting against the Tykes - but they won’t accept anything less than one hundred per cent graft and intensity on enemy soil.

Neither will Dickov.

Because even though the season is still relatively young, Doncaster’s boss knows his side must turn a corner quickly - or risk the prospect of a long, hard winter.

Verdict: Score draw