Date:Thursday January 22 2009
Doncaster Rovers entertain Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Saturday hoping to reach the 5th round for the first time since 1956.
Doncaster won through to the 4th round in midweek when they defeated League One Cheltenham Town 3-0.
They are currently enjoying their best spell of the season winning four of their last five games.
Recent home form (last game first) WWLWDW
Villa continue to keep pace with the Premiership pace setters and sit just three points off the top of the league, last weekend they won 2-1 at Sunderland.
In the third round they struggled to get past League Two opposition Gillingham away from home eventually winning 2-1.
Recent away form (last game first) WWWWLW
Doncaster will be missing defender James Chambers after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Southampton last weekend.
Richie Wellens and James Coppinger carried slight knocks into the midweek cup win over Cheltenham and both are expected to be fit for Saturday.
Defender Gordon Greer played his first 90 minutes since 2007 in a midweek friendly but is unlikely to feature on Saturday.
Only definite absentees are long term injured players Sean McDaid and James Hayter.
Martin O`Neill is expected to make a number of changes for the cup tie with the boss prioritising the League over the FA Cup.
Zat Knight, Nathan Delfouneso and Nicky Shorey are all set to feature in the game.
Definitely missing through injury are Wilfred Bouma, John Carew and Martin Laursen.
Also missing is Ashley Young after his sending off at Sunderland.
Doncaster are some what of a bogey side to Aston Villa with the Midlands side only ever recording one victory in ten previous meetings.
Doncaster have won four, with five draws and one defeat.
The clubs met in an epic FA Cup 4th round tie in 1955 when it took five attempts to eventually find a winner, in a similar situation to this Saturday Villa were flying high in the top flight whilst Rovers were fighting relegation in the old Division Two (Championship).
After drawing 0-0 at Belle Vue the two clubs met four days later at Villa Park, Rovers took a 1-0 lead but eventually the game finished 2-2 after extra time.
Both clubs played in the League on Saturday before they met for a third time in nine days this time at a neutral venue (Maine Road, Manchester City), Rovers again took the lead through sixteen year old Allick Jeffreys, Villa equalised and the two clubs still couldn`t be separated after 120 minutes of football.
Both clubs once again played League games on the Saturday before meeting for a fourth time on the Monday once again at a neutral venue (Hillsborough, Sheff Wednesday), the games were taking place in the afternoon due to no floodlights and after another ninety minutes of stalemate extra time couldn`t be played because of diminishing light.
With the Fifth Round due to take place on the Saturday the two clubs met for a fifth and final time just 24 hours later at The Hawthorns (West Brom) and this time Rovers finally won after two goals from Allick Jeffreys helped them to a 3-1 win, their seventh game in seventeen days and 510 minutes of FA Cup football.
The two clubs met more recently in the Fourth Round of the Carling Cup in 2005 when an awesome performance by then League One Doncaster gave a poor Aston Villa a 3-0 drubbing at Belle Vue, only James Milner, Martin Laursen, Wilfred Bouma and Gareth Barry are still at the club from that humiliating defeat for Villa.
A lot has changed since at Aston Villa and they are now managed by the excellent Martin O`Neill who is proving that you don`t have to spend millions on foreign imports to do well in the Premiership, eight of those that started last weekends win at Sunderland are English and the vast majority are under 25 years of age.
They play a good old fashioned style of football with two speedy wide men in Ashley Young and James Milner; they also have plenty of pace at the top of the pitch with Gabriel Agbonlahor leading their attack.
I have found them a pleasure to watch this season and it`s good to see a club getting into the fight for a Champions League spot other than the usual four.
Full history of results (League unless stated)
1936/37 Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Aston Villa
1936/37 Aston Villa 1-1 Doncaster Rovers
1954/55 Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Aston Villa FA Cup
1954/55 Aston Villa 2-2 Doncaster Rover FA Cup after extra time
1954/55 Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Aston Villa FA Cup after extra time, neutral venue
1954/55 Aston Villa 0-0 Doncaster Rovers FA Cup, neutral venue
1954/55 Doncaster Rovers 3-1 Aston Villa FA Cup, neutral venue
1970/71 Aston Villa 3-2 Doncaster Rovers
1970/71 Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Aston Villa
2005/06 Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Aston Villa League Cup
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