May 14, 2017
Five released and five listed
Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson held discussions with the players following the final game of the season and has now released details of those who will be leaving the club this summer.
Five players have been released at the end of their contracts, while a further five have been placed on the transfer list
Released by Rovers are Paul Keegan, Gary McSheffrey, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Joe Pugh and Joey McCormick, while those transfer listed are Ross Etheridge, Cedric Evina, Mitchell Lund, Harry Middleton and Andy Williams.
Also leaving this summer are second year youth players Lloyd Henderson, Josh Barker and Matthew Gains.
Many of those leaving this summer have been affected by injuries and have been unable to force their way back into the side once they recovered.
Keegan is the second longest serving player at Rovers, having joined in 2011, but has struggled to make an impact this season. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair is unfortunate, having been injured at the end of last season and has only just regained full fitness, with Gary McSheffrey also suffering an injury hit season after only signing for the club last summer.
The listing of Ross Etheridge if of no surprise, as he has fallen down the pecking order at the club and spent the last part of the season on loan at Lincoln City, while Rovers tried to find Cedric Evina a new club in the January transfer window without success, and will be hoping he is successful this summer.
We wish all players departing this summer all the best for the future, and wish them well in their future careers.
May 14, 2017
Rovers send Grant back to Everton
On-loan midfielder Conor Grant has returned to Everton at the end of his loan deal with Rovers, with Darren Ferguson revealing that Rovers will not be turning the loan into a full transfer this summer as had been previously expected.
Rovers had agreed a fee with Everton for the full transfer in January, but the player decided he would prefer to remain on loan for the rest of the season.
However, Ferguson has decided that disappointing form by the Evertonian in the second half of the season has persuaded him to look elsewhere, especially since his signing would have taken up much of his transfer budget for the summer.
In an interview with the Doncaster Star last week, Ferguson said: "The finances come into it because it was quite a large fee, but we knew that anyway. I think the boy has been disappointing. He’s not had the impact he made the first time he came last year. I think it could be down to him missing pre-season, then going to Ipswich and not playing much football while he was there. It might have had an effect. The midfield is an area of the pitch I need to strengthen. I’m hopefully going to get one or two in there. We’ve decided not to take the option on Conor because the fee and everything that comes with that would be a large amount of what I could spend."
However, Ferguson did reveal that he could look at bringing Grant back to Rovers next season, perhaps on loan, once he has secured his other transfer targets this summer.
May 14, 2017
McCullough called up to Northern Ireland camp
Doncaster Rovers defender Luke McCullough has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad for the first time since recovering from a cruciate ligament injury, and has been included in an 18 player squad for a week-long training camp in manchester as preparation for two matches against New Zealand (Friday, 2nd June) and a World Cup qualifying game against Azerbaijan (Saturday, 10th June).
The training camp will begin on Monday, 22nd May, with McCullough's call-up being the first time he has been included since the Euro 2016 championships.
The full Northern Ireland squad named for the training camp is: Roy Carroll (Linfield), Michael McGovern (Norwich City), Conor Hazard (Celtic), Conor Mitchell (Burnley), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood Town), Oliver Norwood (Brighton), Matthew Lund (Rochdale), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest), Kyle Lafferty (Norwich City), Tom Flanagan (Burton Albion), Ryan McLaughlin (Oldham Athletic), Daniel Lafferty (Sheffield United), Josh Magennis (Charlton Athletic), Luke McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), Callum Camps (Rochdale), Adam Thompson (Southend United), Shay McCartan (Accrington Stanley ).
May 14, 2017
Rovers announce new shirt sponsors
After announcing that One Call Insurance were to relinquish their sponsorship of the club's shirts for the 2017/18 season, sponsoring the North Stand instead, Doncaster Rovers have now announced that their kit for the next two seasons will be sponsored by Virgin Trains. Virgin have been sponsoring the club's training kit, but this announcement marks a step up in the links between them and Rovers.
Andrew Witham, the head of commercial affairs with Club Doncaster, told the Doncaster Star: "We are pleased to be working with such a well-known company like Virgin Trains which is a great supporter of the local area. This partnership builds on our promotion back to League One and is another sign of the development of Club Doncaster. We marked the 10th anniversary of our move to the Keepmoat Stadium this season, so I’m delighted we could celebrate the best moments of the past decade as chosen by the most important people at the club – the fans."
Virgin Trains regional commercial manager Paul Smith added: "We’re really proud of what Doncaster Rovers has achieved over the last season and are excited to be part of their promotion story. We love to play a role in helping and celebrating the success of local people and communities on our route, and this shirt sponsorship is a great opportunity to show just how important Doncaster is to us. We hope the club will continue to go from strength to strength in their new kit, as they celebrate ten years at the Keepmoat Stadium and their return to League One."
May 14, 2017
Voting results v Hartlepool United
Somewhat belatedly we announce the results of the "Man of the Match" for the final game of the season, which was against Hartlepool United last weekend.
Goalkeeper Ian Lawlor was the clear winner, with a total of eight players nominated this time.
Those receiving most votes were:
1 Ian Lawlor (38.89%)
2 James Coppinger (22.22%)
3 Andy Williams (11.11%)
We thank everyone who has continued to support the feature during the last season, and we will compile the seasonal totals in the near future and let you know the totals in due course.
May 11, 2017
Man of the Match voting v Hartlepool United
We greatly regret the lack of updates since Saturday's game. It is nothing to do with the disappointing result, more a lack of opportunity to research and write up anything.
To avoid any further delay, the "Man of the Match" voting is now opening, and will remain open until Saturday evening, with the results posted as soon after that as we can.
All information of events over the past week is being logged and will all be included in subsequent posts on this site. Once again, apologies for the lack of service.
May 6, 2017
Hartlepool United v Rovers
So we come to the last match of the season. A league season is often described as a marathon, not a sprint, but it is strange how, despite all the events that have taken place since the season opened last August, so much comes to rest on the final game of the campaign.
Today's game sees Doncaster Rovers needing to win to have a chance of lifting the League Two title.
Today's game sees Hartlepool United needing to win to have a chance of avoiding relegation from League Two into the Conference.
Both clubs are also reliant on results elsewhere going in their favour; in Rovers' case, they have to hope that Plymouth Argyle fail to win at Grimsby (they start the game 1 point ahead), whilst Hartlepool will be hoping that they win and Newport County, who start the day two points ahead, lose at home to mid table Notts County.
Rovers are reported not to have any new injury concerns, with Andy Williams and Liam Mandeville returning from injury last weekend. A definite absentee is Mathieu Baudry, who has just had an Achilles tendon operation, with Joe Wright set to continue in his place.
Hartlepool United welcome back defender Liam Donnelly after recovering from injury, and they also hope that striker Nathan Thomas will be fit enough to play, despite suffering from a knee problem. Kenton Richardson has missed the last three matches with an ankle injury and is not expected to feature today.
And we should not forget that Portsmouth start the day only a point behind Rovers, so anything less than a win for Rovers could see them finish as low as third.
An interesting and potentially exciting day lies ahead!
May 6, 2017
Ferguson aims to finish with win
After disappointing recent results, boss Darren Ferguson wants to finish the season on a high by taking three points from this afternoon's game at Hartlepool United.
Rovers are still in with a chance of winning the title if Plymouth slip up, but Ferguson knows it will be tough today.
Speaking to the Doncaster Free Press, he said: "It’s going to be a full house and it can be quite a hostile atmosphere. You’re playing against a team that’s desperately trying to stay in the Football League so you would have to say there’s more pressure on them than there is on us. We’ve just got to do our job."
"The message to the players is finish with a win. We end up with 88 points which is a fantastic total, and if you end up getting pipped by a point to Plymouth then you have to congratulate them."
"But put as much pressure on Plymouth as you can. If Portsmouth were to score early that would put pressure on Plymouth too. They have to win the game. For us it’s about winning the game and finishing the season off right. If we get pipped perhaps we have to learn from why that has happened but no matter what happens on Saturday we’ve done what we needed to do."
"I am glad it is on television as it gives us an opportunity to do that against a team who are fighting for their lives. If we do ourselves justice, I am sure we will get the right result and performance. There’s a lot riding on it and an edge to it, but we have good experience in the team. We also have a lot of motivation to finish the season with a win because of the last few results."
May 6, 2017
Pools confident of success
Hartlepool's interim boss Matthew Bates is confident that his players will not freeze in front of the TV cameras in what is one of the most important matches in the club's history.
With Pools needing a win to have a hope of staying in the Football League, they know exactly what they need to do this afternoon.
He told the Hartlepool Mail: "You have to look it as a positive – one of our players can be a hero. That’s the way we have to look at it. Most of the players have played in front of the cameras before. They will be fine – once the whistle blows they won’t even think about the cameras. If there’s added pressure on us, then there is as much on them, it’s six and two threes."
He added: "We’ve tried not to talk about the severity of the situation. I don’t think that helps – they know themselves, they don’t need us to tell them. We just want them to play with no fear and I think they did that at Cheltenham last week."
"There is no point in putting fear into them. I said last week that there have been no motivational speeches, no crisis meetings – our attitude has just been to get them ready to play. That performance at Cheltenham, compared to the one the week before, was remarkable really. It showed what we can do and I’m more confident now than before that we can beat Doncaster. That is the truth. The players showed the fight, passion and desire and we have to show it again."
Bates finished by saying: "Doncaster will be a tough one. We’ve watched them and they are beatable. We were level with them down down at their place before they scored at the end. They aren’t on a great run, but they’ll come here to try to win the league on Sky, so they are fighting, but we are fighting doubly hard to stay in the league."
May 6, 2017
Fergie changes tack ahead of crucial game
Darren Ferguson has changed tack during training this week after his "relentless" approach may have backfired in recent games.
To address that, he revealed: "We’ve sort of relaxed them a lot this week and taken out maybe a bit of the intensity in the training. Because we’re in the last week of the season - and regardless of what happens on Saturday we’ve had a great season - we wanted to make sure the players enjoyed the last week of training."
He also revealed that the players will report to Cantley Park on Monday to have meetings with him and then they will begin their summer break, so news may emerge early next week of which players are being released by the club.
May 6, 2017
Today's match officials
The match officials appointed by the Football League for this afternoon's away game at Hartlepool United are:
Referee: Mark Brown
Assistant referees: Richard Wild and Helen Byrne
Fourth Official: Eddie Ilderton
May 5, 2017
Self-critical Fergie changes approach
Boss Darren Ferguson has been taking a look at how he has approached the last few matches, which has ended with a slump in results which looks like costing them the League Two title this season.
Speaking to the Doncaster Star earlier this week, he said: "Perhaps I’ve been a little too intense with them in the sense of us needing to win the league. Maybe that is something I can look at within myself. I always want to look at where I could have done better. It’s in my nature to be relentless in the sense of ‘promotion has been won, we need to win it.’ It’s something I maybe need to look at there."
"I look at the approach I wanted to take into the last few games and thought hard about the title after we won promotion against Mansfield. It was how I do believe it should be done, ‘look, that’s gone, let’s go and win the league.’ I was very demanding of that. Then again, I maybe should have assessed that. Maybe looked at it and thought about it a bit longer."
"I just expected the players to go with it. I’ve got to remember they’re human beings and sometimes they cannot cope with the intensity."
May 5, 2017
Rovers show Hartlepool game in the Belle Vue Bar
Doncaster Rovers have announced that they will be showing the final game of the season in the Belle Vue Bar. With the Rovers section of Victoria Park sold out, watching on TV is the only way tat Rovers fans can now view the crucial game against Hartlepool United as it happens.
The game is being televised live on Sky Sports, but Rovers have decided to open the Belle Vue Bar at 4.30pm so that fans can join together to watch the game.
Rovers have got former player John Buckley on hand to comment on the game as it goes on.
Entry is free of charge, and the game kicks off at 5.30pm.
May 5, 2017
Pools had for sell-out for make or break game
Hartlepool United have announced that they are heading towards a sell-out for Saturday's game against Doncaster Rovers, with their decision to reduce the price to home fans down to £5 paying off.
Hartlepool need to win their final game of the season to have a chance of avoiding relegation to the Conference, while Rovers need to win to have a chance of taking the League To title. For both clubs, they will be hoping on results elsewhere going their way - and a draw isn't enough for either, so it should make for an entertaining game.
Hartlepool have now sold over 6,500 tickets for the game, and all seated areas of the ground are now sold out, with only standing room left in the Prostrate Cancer UK Stand and Niramax Terrace.
The Rovers allocation has totally sold out, and fans without tickets are urged not to travel to the game.
No tickets will be on sale to either set of fans on match day due to police advice.
Their previous high attendance this season was 5,011 which attended their game against Carlisle United last month.
May 5, 2017
Copps overcomes injury to finish season
Rovers midfielder James Coppinger has returned to play in the last few games after it looked like he had ended his season early due to tendonitis in his ankle.
A short spell on the sidelines appears to have enabled him to return to playing, but he admits that he cannot play to his best.
He told the Doncaster Free Press last week: "It’s just tendonitis in my ankle which happened last year with 14 games to go. This season I’ve managed it really well, with the help of the manager and I only started feeling it with six games to go. But just having a little bit of rest has helped it. I still feel it a little bit. It is something which is frustrating because I can actually play on it but I can’t do what I want to do. That is what happens when you get to 36. I will definitely get through these last couple of games if selected and the manager wants me to play a part."
May 5, 2017
Voting results v Exeter City
There were votes for seven different players to be the "Man of the Match" for last weekend's home game against Exeter City. As often happens in a match which is lost, votes were fairly evenly spread, but Tommy Rowe was the narrow winner of the voting, coming marginally ahead of Luke McCullough.
Those players to receive most votes were:
1 Tommy Rowe (29.41%)
2 Luke McCullough (26.67%)
3 Andy Butler (17064%
4= John Marquis, Ian Lawlor (12.5% each)
Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote. The final vote of the season will open on Sunday after the away game at Hartlepool United.
May 3, 2017
Ferguson concedes title
Rovers boss Darren Ferguson has admitted that he does not expect to win the League Two title this season, despite leading the way since the turn of the year until Saturday's defeat saw Plymouth take pole position.
After describing Saturday's game as one of the most disappointing of his managerial career he said: "It’s an incredibly poor way to finish the season. Saturday is now a very important game in the sense that we need a win before the season ends. And that’ll be tough because they (Hartlepool) need a win to stay in the Football League. But we’ve worked so hard to get to here, four months top of the league, and now obviously we’ve thrown that away. I don’t think Plymouth will be as kind as us."
He added: "I’m gutted, bitterly disappointed. To have worked so hard to get to this point and then in our penultimate game we’ve had the worst result of our season. It’s an incredibly disappointing - we might never get in a position where we can be champions of a league."
May 3, 2017
Hartlepool game on TV
This weekend's final game of the season, away at Hartlepool United, has been selected for live transmission on Sky Sports. The game could see Rovers lift the championship (if results elsewhere go their way), and also could see Hartlepool United lose their Football League status for the first time in their history.
Doncaster Rovers announced some time ago that their full ticket allocation for the game has sold out, and are urging supporters without tickets not to travel to Hartlepool.
The game kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday.
May 3, 2017
New shirt sponsors for Rovers
There will be new shirt sponsors for next season after Doncaster Rovers revealed that One Call Insurance are ending their long-standing sponsorship this summer.
Instead of sponsoring the shirts, One Call will have their name on the North Stand.
They have been the main shirt sponsors for the last seven years, and also were the main shirt sponsors for the 2001/02 season.
The club have not yet revealed who the new sponsors will be.
One Call Insurance's managing director, Nik Springthorpe, told DROS: "It is with a heavy heart that the company relinquished the front of shirt sponsorship. Doncaster Rovers have been a major part of our marketing for many years and we are more than happy to continue our partnership with the club. Engaging with the fans and Doncaster businesses to bring new and exciting offers is always something that we are looking to do."
May 3, 2017
Stuckmann released by Spireites
Chesterfield have announced that 12 players will leave the club this summer following their relegation to League Two. They have also offered new deals to four players, but former Rovers goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann, who joined the club on a short term deal ahead of the last transfer deadline, is one of the twelve having to find a new club this summer.
Ex-Rovers defender Sam Hird remains at the club, as his contract is not due to expire this summer.
May 2, 2017
Rovers 1 Exeter City 3
After almost four months at the top of the League Two table, Rovers were replaced in first place by Plymouth Argyle after a horror-show that saw them deservedly beaten in their final match of the season at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Plymouth and Portsmouth were losing earlier in the afternoon, but both turned their fortunes around and could finish above Rovers unless Darren Ferguson manages to turn things around by the weekend.
Exeter went into the game against Rovers needing to win to maintain their play-off challenge, and this transferred into their play throughout the game. Rovers may not have consciously "switched off" since promotion was confirmed, but it's hard not to spot the change in results since that time.
Exeter took the lead with a thunderbolt of a shot by Jordan Moore-Taylor, but that lead did not last long, with James Coppinger equalising.
However, two second half goals, admittedly the last of which was late on as Rovers were chasing the game, sunk Rovers' title ambitions and led to an emptying stadium by the time the match finished and the players returned to do the traditional end of season 'lap of honour'.
Exeter's second goal came when they won a penalty as Joe Wright handled the ball on the line, for which he surprisingly only received a yellow card instead of the usual automatic red, and while Ian Lawlor performed heroics to keep the spot kick out, was powerless to stop the rebound being fired into the net, with the Exeter players reacting much quicker than the Rovers defenders to the loose ball.
May 2, 2017
What the managers said
There were greatly contrasting interviews given by the two managers after Saturday's game against Exeter City, with Rovers boss Darren Ferguson "bitterly disappointed" at the way the season was ending. In comparison, Exeter boss Paul Tisdale was delighted with the performance of his players, which keeps them nicely in the promotion picture.
In his post-match interview to BBC Radio Sheffield, the Rovers boss said: "“I’m gutted, bitterly disappointed. It’s one of the most disappointing results I’ve had in ten years, without a shadow of doubt. To have worked so hard to get to this point and then in our penultimate game we’ve had the worst result of our season."
"At the moment it’s very raw and I’m very disappointed. To take from one point from four games at this part of the season, you don’t get it back because there’s not enough games left. It’s an incredibly disappointed dressing room, and we might never get in a position where we can be champions of a league - because that’s gone now, Plymouth will win the league."
"I’m incredibly disappointed to lose the way we have, and that’s reflected in the game and the manner of the goals. You just cannot concede goals like that in any game of football. You can clearly see that I’m disappointed, for everyone - even you guys in the room [the media], it’s good for the club if we go up as champions, the fans, the board, the players; I’m not angry with them because they’re not deliberately losing games, let’s make that clear. I’m just very disappointed."
"It’s an incredibly poor way to finish the season and next Saturday is now a very important game in the sense that we need a win before the season ends. And that’ll be tough because they [Hartlepool] need a win to stay in the Football League. But we’ve worked so hard to get to here, four months top of the league, and now obviously we’ve thrown that away. I don’t think Plymouth will be as kind as us."
Compare that downbeat view of the implications of the result with that of Paul Tisdale, who told Devon Live: "We're delighted, we're really, really happy. I won't lie to you, we've had a very pleasant five minutes in the dressing room but we just want to make sure that this is not our best moment and we need some normality now between now and next week and the week after and stay on the job."
He added: "We don't get it right all the time but I have to say we have worked on it. I have to say it didn't go quite as well as that in training but it'll be all right in the night and bosh, what a free-kick – I don't think the keeper even dived. We set things up, they don't always come off, but today it was like we almost sprinkled some gold dust on that one."
Tisdale continued: "We have to accept they are a promotion team, they're a very good outfit and were we going to come here and have it all our own way? No, we were going to have to earn it and that meant goalkeepers making saves, defenders blocking and tackling and strikers and midfield players attacking and we did that today. Everyone did their bit and there were some big, big performances out there today and we're going to need more of that going forward into hopefully the next four games. I think we fancy our chances in the second half of any game – the stats will show you that – and, in at half-time, all square, we were more than happy with that. We got in front and we kept our positional play extremely disciplined and capitalised with a late third goal but all round, it was a very competent performance and I'm very pleased."
May 2, 2017
Match highlights

There are some brief match highlights of Saturday's home game against Exeter City available on the Sky Sports' web site.
To view them, please click on their logo to the left.

May 2, 2017
McGuire joins Carnoustie
Former Doncaster Rovers defender Phil McGuire has joined Scottish club Carnoustie Panmure in a "behind the scenes" role on a voluntary basis.
He will be using his coaching and business connections to work with each team at the Carnoustie Panmure Community Club to develop "a clear structured pathway for every player within the club's infrastructure", as well as developing the club's commercial relationships.
Mark Johnson, Carnoustie's general manager, said: “The off-field development of the club is key and we are delighted to be able to bring Phil on board. Phil has a wealth of experience within the senior game and has advanced that with holding both a UEFA A and B licence and concluding a sports degree working around pathway from youths to seniors."
May 2, 2017
Ernie to have road named after him
Ex-Rovers striker Ernie Moss is set to have a road named after him, after it was announced that a road in Chesterfield, near the Proact Stadium, will bear his name.
The news was announced by Chesterfield FC on their Twitter account, when they revealed: "We're delighted to announce that a road is being named after Spireites legend Ernie Moss. Further details announced later in the week."
67-year old Ernie has been left unable to speak after suffering with dementia for the last five years. He is Chesterfield's record goal scorer, and helped Rovers earn promotion under Billy Bremner during the 1983/84 season.
He now needs constant care to do virtually everything and needs round-the-clock care, but still goes to watch Chesterfield play when he can.