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Archived News from February 2004

19th February 2004 19:32

http://www.doncastertoday.co.uk, 19 February 2004

NEW signing David Mulligan looks set to make his Doncaster Rovers debut in Saturday's crunch encounter away to promotion rivals Mansfield Town.

But former Stags midfield ace John Doolan will miss out on the trip to his old club and could be ruled out for a fortnight with a painful knee injury.

It has been a busy week for Belle Vue boss Dave Penney who also snapped up promising young striker Adebayo Akinfenwa until the end of the season.

But he was not allowing anything to deflect him from focusing fully on what he described as "one of our biggest games of the season".

Penney said: "Saturday is a massive match for both clubs because of the position we are in and it's important we are not beaten.

"A draw would probably suit us more that them but we will not be going there with any negative thoughts and if we can win so much the better."

Doncaster are currently second in the table - just one point behind leaders Hull City - while Mansfield are fourth, six points behind Rovers with a game in hand.

When the teams met at Belle Vue earlier in the season Mansfield arrived with a big reputation on the back of some high scoring victories.

But they were sent packing in no uncertain fashion as Rovers hit back after going a goal down to clinch a sparkling 4-2 victory.

Penney commented: " We played well that day and hopefully we can repeat that performance.

"You can never be certain but I wouldn't expect there to be as many goals this time because they have tightened up a lot in defence and we haven't been giving much away at the back either."

Rovers were not at their best in Saturday's hard fought 1-0 win over Macclesfield Town but it was the fourth time in the last six games that they had kept a clean sheet.

They might have won more convincingly had controversial referee Trevor Kettle allowed a cleanly struck penalty from Michael McIndoe to count in the 37th minute.

But he ruled that a Rovers player had encroached at the spotkick and when it was retaken McIndoe was foiled by a fine save from Steve Wilson.

But there was no dispute when Gregg Blundell hooked the ball home on the stroke of half time and Doncaster hung on to their advantage to the finish.

Jamie Price starts a three match ban on Saturday and former Barnsley man Mulligan is almost certain to replace him.

The 21-year-old New Zealand international made 70 first team appearances for Barnsley - mostly in the First Division - and is a polished looking right back who likes to push forward.

Akinfenwa, also 21, was snapped up after impressing on trial after being released by hard up Rushden and Diamonds where he had seven appearances on the substitute's bench this season.

He previously helped Welsh Premiership club Barry Town to a league and cup double last season and is a powerfully built striker with plenty of pace.

Penney said: "We have had a number of players on trial this season and these two are the best we have seen.

"We have given them both short term contracts and now it's up to them."


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