Big kick-off: Dons counting down to Whitehaven opener

Dons' Lee Waterman converts his kick against Sheffield. Picture: Andrew Roe
Dons' Lee Waterman converts his kick against Sheffield. Picture: Andrew Roe

Tony Miller expects the going to get tough in Championship One this season - and the Dons to get going!

Dons co-owner Carl Hall has made no secret of the importance of securing one of the four promotion spots available to sides in the third tier this year.

And Miller says he is relishing the task ahead - starting with Sunday’s curtain-raiser at home to Whitehaven.

Miller said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge and I’m confident we’ll have a good season.

“Championship One will be the most competitive of the three divisions and there are a few sides who are talking up their chances of going up.

“There won’t be an easy game this year.

“But this is the best squad we’ve had since I’ve been back in charge and I expect us to be challenging.

“We’re under no illusions about how tough it will be this season and it’s my job to keep the players’ feet on the ground.

“We’re all looking forward to the visit of Whitehaven and it’s important we get things off to a good start.”

Doncaster bowed out of the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday despite a battling display at Championship outfit Hunslet Hawks.

Carl Hughes scored two second half tries at the South Leeds Stadium as the Dons lost 20-10 - but impressed Miller with their performance.

“We did a lot of good stuff on Sunday and it was a lot better defensively than it was against Sheffield the previous week.

“They played the conditions better than us but overall there was a big improvement in our intensity.

“I’ve rotated the squad and I’ve had a look at certain players in different positions during the Northern Rail Cup.

“This weekend it will be our strongest squad out there - and the aim is to hit the ground running.”

Miller is hopeful that full back Mick Butterfield will be fit to return after a shin problem.

Craig Fawcett and Mike Burnett, however, remain doubtful.

The Dons confirmed this week that 19-year-old centre Jamie Crowther has left the club by mutual consent.