It wasn’t so long ago that these two sides met in the fourth round of the Carling Cup and unbelievably, a League One outfit Doncaster trounced Villa 3-0. While that was only in 2005, things have changed a lot since then and while Donny are now a Championship side, Villa are a highly polished top flight outfit who even have a slight sniff of the title.
Doncaster looked almost certain to be immediately relegated back to League One not so long ago, with their form in the opening months of the season being nothing short of abysmal. However, Sean O’Driscoll’s men have turned things around and after propping up the table for large spells, they’re only based in the bottom three due to goal difference. They’ve won their last three league games on the bounce and after struggling so much in front of goal at first, they’re finally starting to find their feet and score more as well. Although Cheltenham took them to a replay, the South Yorkshire outfit easily dispatched of them on Tuesday and progressed to this round courtesy of a 3-0 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium.
As for Aston Villa, the Midlands outfit are having a brilliant season. They’re currently sat in fourth position, just three points off top, which is a magical achievement for this point in the campaign. Martin O’Neil’s men have surprised everyone this season and are currently keeping Arsenal out of the top four, which would be a huge feat in itself. They were another Premiership side to not make easy work of their last game in this competition though, which pitted them against League Two Gillingham. The Gills put up a fantastic display and went on to frustrate Villa for large periods of the game and it took a debatable penalty for O’Neil’s men to seal the win. Following their experiences with Doncaster a few years ago, they’ll know they’ll have to play much better if they are to progress to the next stage.
As for team news, Doncaster look set to just be without the one player with James Chambers suspended. However, after early scares Matthew Mills and James O’Connor will be available, meaning Sean O’Driscoll has a decent pool to choose from. The visitors on the other hand could be without a few key players with Ashley Young beginning a three match suspension while Martin O’Neil will also be without Martin Laursen. Other absentees include Wilfred Bouma and John Carew, meaning Villa have a few problems heading into this one.
While Doncaster are in good form at the moment, we can only predict a win for the favorites in this one. Villa nearly found out in the last round what it’s like to be part of a cup upset and with that, we think they’ll have their wits about them – 3-1 Villa.