Date:Friday October 8 2010
With the international break coming after ten Championship games it`s a good time to assess just how the season has gone so far.
As usual, Rovers were amongst the favourites for relegation before a ball was kicked but with Sean O`Driscoll adding last seasons leading goalscorer Billy Sharp to the squad on a full time basis and the division looking wide open, there was reason for plenty of optimism.
O`Driscoll also added another loan player from last season to the squad with Simon Gillett joining from Southampton.
Rovers also brought in George Friend and Josh Payne from Premier League sides Wolves and West Ham respectively.
Rovers were starting the season on the road with an away trip to Preston. Since their promotion to the Championship in 2008, it`s the third season in a row that they have started with an away game.
Despite the disappointment of having Simon Gillett sent off for two bookable offences Rovers made the perfect start to the season.
Two goals inside the opening twenty minutes by James Hayter and James O`Connor set Rovers on the way to a 2-0 win.
Rovers were in Carling Cup action in midweek and with Sean O`Driscoll having an early season injury crisis at the Keepmoat; four players from the youth team were named amongst the substitutes for the home clash with Accrington Stanley.
Josh Payne made his first start for the club since his arrival in the summer and he opened the scoring for Rovers early in the second half.
Stanley caused one of the shocks of the evening in the competition when they equalised inside the final ten minutes and then won the tie early into extra time.
Rovers strengthened their squad when defender Wayne Thomas joined after his summer release from Southampton.
Bristol City were Rovers first visitors to the Keepmoat in the league on the Saturday and the points looked to be heading to the south West when they were leading 1-0 going into the final minute.
Rovers snatched a point when Billy Sharp kept his cool to equalise from the spot in injury time.
Another new face came through the doors at the Keepmoat when young Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ryan Mason joined on loan.
Next up for Rovers was a trip to Cardiff City and they were caught up in Craig Bellamy mania after the Manchester City striker joined the Bluebirds on loan for the season.
His arrival saw the club sell over 3,000 club shirts with his name and number on the back and a sell out crowd of over 24,000.
With Bellamy revelling in all the attention, he finished off a perfect afternoon for the home side when he scored his first goal for the club in a 4-0 victory.
Hull City made their first visit to the Keepmoat next time out. The Humberside club had enjoyed a similar rise through the divisions to Rovers since the turn of the century and had even lived the dream of the Premier League for two seasons.
They had struggled early season with life back in the Championship and they were to go away from the Keepmoat empty handed as Rovers claimed all three points with a 3-1 win.
Martin Woods gave Rovers the perfect start with a goal in side two minutes but the joy was to be short lived when Nicky Barmby equalised inside ten minutes.
Billy Sharp scored his second penalty of the season shortly before half time to put Rovers ahead again and a smart finish from James Coppinger sealed the win.
The month finished with Rovers gaining seven points from their first four games and they went into the first international break of the season in ninth place.
Rovers travelled to Watford next time out and looked to be easing to another three points when Simon Gillett gave them a half time lead.
The game changed in the second half when the home side introduced Marvin Sordell, who scored twice within fifteen minutes of his introduction.
George Friend rescued a point for Rovers with virtually the last kick of the game when he scored from close range in the third minute of injury time.
Games were to come thick and fast in September and Rovers had two home games in the space of three days to look forward too.
They started with an impressive 3-1 win over Norwich City, James Coppinger bagged himself a hat trick that had fans reminiscing about his hat trick against Southend in the League One play offs in 2008.
Leeds arrived at the Keepmoat on the Friday evening for a game in front of the live Sky TV cameras.
An entertaining game saw both sides looking to claim all three points but neither side could find a goal in a 0-0 draw.
Rovers then faced two games on the road, first up being the trip to the early season pace setters Queens Park Rangers.
The Hoops had yet to concede a goal at home and scored nine in the process so they were probably expecting to claim another easy three points.
Rovers looked the better side in the first half and both James O`Connor and Martin Woods went close to opening the scoring.
In the second half the home side took their chances and went away with a 3-0 win, that rather flattered the home side.
Rovers travelled to Coventry on the Tuesday and despite the early set back of going a goal down, they dominated for long periods and deservedly levelled through Billy Sharp.
With time running out, Rovers looked the most likely side to claim all three points; they were then caught out by a sucker punch when Gary McSheffrey claimed all three points for the home side inside the final five minutes.
It was the second game in a row that Rovers had looked the better side but had come away with nothing.
Nottingham Forest were Rovers last opponents at the Keepmoat before the second international break of the season.
Forest took the lead just inside the half our mark but their lead was to be short lived when Adam Lockwood equalised within five minutes.
Rovers had a couple of great chances late on to claim all three points. Lee Camp somehow managed to keep out a James Hayter header and Mark Wilson hit the crossbar.
The international break has probably come at a good time for Rovers after they claimed only two points from their previous four fixtures.
Those results have seen them drop from third to thirteenth in the table but they are still only three points from the play off positions.
It is also Rovers best start to a season after ten games, since their return to the Championship and with only Queens Par Rangers showing any kind of consistency, any side that can string three or four wins together could quickly find themselves in the automatic promotion places.
When Rovers get back to league action they face three local games in a week with a trip to Scunthorpe followed by home games with Derby and Sheffield United.
Plenty of reasons to remain positive of a good season and anything is possible in this division as early season results have already shown.
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Date:Friday October 8 2010
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