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Up next: Donny (h) – a team in freefall

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If we can’t beat Donny on Tuesday there really is something wrong with us. Because there is definitely something wrong with Donny. They are in freefall. Just two points above the relegation zone after going nine league games without a win, including six defeats- the latest 1-0 at home to Shrewsbury on Saturday, with the winner coming direct from a corner.

Even manager Darren Ferguson couldn’t hide from the obvious, “Whichever way you want to wrap it up, fundamentally something’s wrong,” he said. Or to put it another way: “Certainly something’s not right at the moment. We’ve tried various things like playing a one and a one and a two in midfield and a two and a one .We’ve not been getting hammered, fine margins have cost us.”

Some chap called Andy Butler thought the answer to Donny’s problem lay in adopting a different tactic: “We have to do better,” he said “we must roll our sleeves up.”

Apart from a penchant for keeping their sleeves rolled down, one of Rovers’ other main problems has been a touch of Ironitis in front of goal, scoring just three times in their last seven games. Ferguson’s desperate search for a winning formula even led him to drop top scorer Andy Williams on Saturday, citing lack of confidence (you should have come to us, Andy. Robins would have destroyed your confidence much quicker, probably playing you at full-back).

Last season’s top scorer Nathan Tyson has managed just six goals this season while Donny’s captain and long-serving attacking midfielder James Coppinger has been out injured.

The other day they signed Aston Villa’s 20-year-old midfielder Riccardo Calder on loan for the rest of the season, though it doesn’t say much for him as a player if he can’t get in the current Villa team.

Butler was recalled by Donny for the Shrewsbury game, so there may be a reunion on Tuesday. One player we won’t be able to boo, though, is Rob Jones, who joined Hartlepool the other day.

This is our game in hand on some clubs, and could keep our thin play-off hopes alive if we win, which we really should. We beat them away on Boxing Day after all.

When Ferguson took over at Donny in October they were second bottom. After a honeymoon period when results improved, the team is heading back towards the League One divorce court. If we can’t win in those circumstances, then it really does raise the question of whether Daws is the man for the job.

Knill desperandum

Neil Cutler. Remember him? Our former goalkeeping coach under Alan Knill is part of the caretaker team likely to manage Walsall until the end of the season after the midlands club sacked Sean O’Driscoll on Sunday This despite the fact he had only 16 games in charge and the team sit fourth in the League One table.

But if Cutler can now help guide Walsall to promotion, it will prove that there is life after failing at Scunny. Because Knill is doing ok too, No 2 at runaway League Two leaders Northampton.

Written by Matt Blanchard

Part of the team since 2007, before becoming editor in 2013. Undertaken the role of match summariser during Scunthorpe United live match commentaries for BBC Radio Humberside. Seasonal contributor to football titles FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes and a finalist at the Football Blogging Awards in 2014.

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