Latics face first home league game of the season on Sunday (12.30pm kick-off) as Doncaster Rovers visit the DW Stadium.
- Fixture put back to Sunday 16th August (12:30pm) due to Rovers’ Yorkshire derby with Leeds United on Thursday 13th August.
- Doncaster defeated Uwe Rosler’s Leeds side on penalties in midweek after drawing on opening day against Bury at the Keepmoat Stadium.
- Both sides looking to register first league success in fixture that has produced more than three goals in three of the last five meetings.
Latics lost to Coventry City on the opening day of the season whilst Doncaster drew with Bury in a bizarre affair that saw over 1,000,000 hits on their YouTube highlights as they sportingly let the Shakers equalise after a bizarre opener in the 93rd minute.
This fixture was moved back 24 hours due to Doncaster’s Capital One Cup Yorkshire derby with Leeds United moving to Thursday for TV coverage. A tie they won on penalties against Uwe Rosler’s side with Latics exiting the competition in the first round at the hands of Bury.
The summer has seen six arrivals to date at the Keepmoat with goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann arriving from Preston North End, defenders Gary MacKenzie and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair arriving from Blackpool and Latics respectively, midfielders Richard Chaplow and Dany N’Guessan have also signed whilst last season’s League One third highest scorer with 21 goals, Andy Williams, has arrived from Swindon Town.
On the out list, Kyle Bennett, Stephen Bywater, Dean Furman, Jamie McCombe and Theo Robinson have left the club but Doncaster have kept the core of their side from last season together as they look to have a push at returning to the Sky Bet Championship after relegation in 2013.
Their pre-season campaign will have given them confidence as four victories, two draws and just one defeat made up the results from their seven matches. Wins over Frickley Athletic, Bridlington Town and Armthorpe Welfare were followed up by a superb home win over a strong Sunderland side. The Premier League outfit went down 2-0 just over two weeks ago as Cedric Evina and Harry Forrester scored either side of half-time against a Black Cats side containing Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell, Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe. Their draws both came against Championship opposition in Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough whilst their defeat was to Wolves as they narrowly went down 4-3 despite goals from Andy Butler, Rob Jones and Nathan Tyson.
Paul Dickov is in his second full season in charge after taking over the club as they fought relegation towards the end of the 2012-13 season and he’ll now be hoping his pre-season campaign encourages his side to have a better start after they won just two of their opening eight League One games last season. From the start of November to the end of January last season they lost just twice and, after three consecutive wins in February – including a 5-0 thrashing of Crawley Town – they were sixth in the table with 16 games to go. Their poor start proved crucial, though, as a mixed bag of results in the final two-and-a-half months of the campaign meant they had no room for error in trying to compete with Chesterfield and Bradford City who eventually finished sixth and seventh respectively.
There away form was relatively strong over the course of the previous campaign; Rovers lost just seven of their 23 league travels but they couldn’t back it up on their own patch with 10 home defeats a record only sides in the bottom six envied.
In terms of key players, Latics defender Reece James picked out Forrester who came through the ranks at Watford and Aston Villa and has been capped at England youth level. He features in a midfield alongside the experienced pair of James Coppinger and Chaplow, the former passing 450 Doncaster Rovers appearances in that game with Bury. Richie Wellens, Curtis Main and Nathan Tyson have all played in the Championship and for clubs who’ve played in the Premier League whilst goalkeeper Stuckmann is part of an experienced defensive unit led by Rob Jones and Andy Butler and supported by Mitchell Lund, Luke McCullough and Cedric Evina.
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