DONCASTER ROVERS: Barker following O’Driscoll’s lead at Crawley

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THE visit of Crawley Town was eagerly anticipated by a lot of Doncaster Rovers fans when the League One fixtures came out in June.

It wasn’t only the fact that the two clubs had never met before which helped stoke up the interest, but that former Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll had taken charge of the newly-promoted club during the summer.

Unfortunately for those fans looking forward to the clash of managers, both with their own different styles, O’Driscoll left the Red Devils to take over as manager at Nottingham Forest, where he had worked as first-team coach in the second half of last season. Rovers boss Dean Saunders will now cross swords with Richie Barker.

Like Saunders, Barker was a striker during his playing days during which time he turned out for nine clubs.

He got his first shot at management after being drafted in as caretaker manager at Bury, where he was head of youth and reserve team manager, late in the 2010-11 season, and was handed the job on a permanent basis after steering them to six successive wins and automatic promotion to League One.

Having being in charge at Gigg Lane during the time that Kyle Bennett was at the club, Barker will be only too aware of the threat posed by the tricky 21-year-old, who rejected the offer of a new contract with the Shakers.

Although he was never in charge of a competitive match during his brief time at the club, O’Driscoll still managed to make an impact.

He f got them playing more football than they had done under previous manager Steve Evans and reports would indicate that Barker - a popular choice with the Crawley fans - has followed a similar route.