Doncaster Rovers: Ferguson outlines key objectives for FA Cup clash with Stoke City

Darren Ferguson

Darren Ferguson

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If there is one final bit of advice that Darren Ferguson offers to his players at 2.55pm today, it is most likely to be ‘look after the ball’.

The Doncaster Rovers camp are only too aware of the threat posed by FA Cup opponents Stoke City, whatever side Mark Hughes selects.

So giving away possession cheaply is a no-no if Rovers harbour any ambitions of reaching the last 32.

“Whatever they do [team selection-wise], we’re going to be up against good players,” said Ferguson.

“You have to accept you’re going to be playing against Premier League players and at times they’ll have good possession of the ball.

“We’ll have to make sure we’ve got a good shape and good discipline about us.

“The key to these sort of games is making sure we look after the ball ourselves.

“We pride ourselves on keeping the ball and that’s going to be important.

“We don’t want it to change hands too quickly and we’ve got to make sure we make an impression on them.”

Ferguson watched Stoke lose 1-0 to Liverpool in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final this week.

He said: “I know they’re capable of playing far better then they did on Tuesday night.

“They’re a good team, they’ve got good fluency. The front four are a real handful, they don’t really stay in their positions, they float around.

“They’re a changed team under Mark [Hughes], there’s no question about that. And they’ve got the option of being a bit more physical, with the likes of Crouch, Walters and Diouf.

“The good thing for me about the other night was that there were two different examples of how they can play. We’ve taken a lot from the games we’ve seen and the lads have seen the video clips.”