As rivalries go, this isn’t exactly the fiercest. Leicester City and Doncaster Rovers met for the first time in 53 years at the Walkers Stadium in February and played out a forgettable goalless draw. The return match wasn’t much better, City leaving the Keepmoat Stadium with a 1-0 win. Doncaster’s only victory in 13 trips to Leicester came in 1902, in what was a pretty miserable season for both clubs.
Injury to Matty Fryatt (having met the business end of Brian Stock’s shoulder) proved the only talking point in this fixture last season. Fryatt hasn’t really recovered, but Rovers have no such striker concerns. James Hayter has scored five goals in his last six matches and Doncaster’s failure to score last time out at Selhurst Park came as something of a surprise. Sean O’Driscoll’s side hadn’t failed to find the net since September.
Leicester’s next goal will be their 50th against Doncaster, but who might score it is an interesting question. Darius Vassell, despite 392 minutes on the pitch, has yet to officially record an attempt on goal for the Foxes. It is surely a mistake on the part of the Football League statisticians that his toe poke against Forest which was cleared off the line hasn’t counted (and of course the offside which ruled out his opener against Derby was debateable) but even so, it’s hardly a spectacular return. By contrast the only scorer in last season’s encounters with Doncaster, Martyn Waghorn, is the Foxes’ most trigger happy forward. The former Sunderland man is making one attempt at goal for every 25 minutes he spends on the pitch. Sadly for City’s most expensive striker since Ade Akinbiyi, the majority of his attempts have been off target, and only two of his 38 efforts on goal have found the net.
Perhaps Rovers fans will relate to Leicester’s frustrations on the road. O’Driscoll’s side have lost just once at home but five away. Doncaster have conceded 20 goals on their travels this season, an average of two per game. And whilst it has been a campaign of few surprises (Rovers have beaten only two teams from the top half, and lost just twice to sides in the wrong half of the table), Leicester’s record at home (unbeaten in the last six) must hold some concerns. Only Nottingham Forest and QPR are currently enjoying longer unbeaten home runs than City.
But as with Watford last week, Rovers are more than capable of a flying start. Their first half record is the second best in the Championship. That said, their second half record is the league’s fourth worst. After last week’s disastrous start, let’s hope that Leicester don’t leave themselves with too much to do this week.