Even a defeat could secure West Brom’s promotion in this game, should Nottingham Forest also suffer the same fate. The Baggies are eleven points clear of 3rd position and it looks almost certain that they’ll be playing Premiership football next season. Opponents Doncaster on the other hand don’t have anything at all to play for. The Keepmoat Stadium outfit held mild aspirations of a playoff finish not so long ago, but back-to-back defeats to Plymouth and Blackpool respectively has ended that dream and Sean O’Driscoll will now just concentrate on preparing for next season.
A nine point gap between them and 6th place Leicester means that Doncaster’s dream is, while not mathematically, almost certainly dead in the water. However, Rovers can take great credit from their campaign and despite operating on a shoestring budget, they’ve played football the right way and look set to finish in a comfortable mid-table position. That’s despite losing several key players during the summer, and Sean O’Driscoll should be applauded for that. It’s the last two results that have killed their charge though, with a late 2-1 defeat to Plymouth and a 2-0 loss to Blackpool completely ending any aspirations of a playoff finish.
You could say that West Brom really don’t have much to play for either, as their fate is practically sewn up as well. Yet again, it looks as though the Hawthorns are set for promotion with eleven points separating them from 3rd place Nottingham Forest. With just twelve points left to play for, the race for automatic promotion is all but over and Roberto Di Matteo should be another man applauded after getting a second promotion on his CV. Of course, there is the small issue of the title, but with the Baggies trailing Newcastle by six points as well as having played one game more, you’d have to think that is going to St James’ Park this season.
As for team news, it’s mixed news for the home side as Sean O’Driscoll prepares to make changes following consecutive defeats. Leading scorer Billy Sharp is still out injured and is expected to miss the rest of the season, but Martin Woods could be recalled having missed the last two games through tonsillitis. The visitors have a few problems and Roberto Di Matteo is preparing to be without Gianni Zuiverloon, Jerome Thomas, James Morrison, Steven Reid and Chris Wood who are all sidelined with injury and illness.
Doncaster’s season is frittering away and their players know that the only thing left to play for is pride. While West Brom’s task is almost over, Roberto Di Matteo will still want to properly sew up promotion and for that reason we’ll go for a Baggies victory – 1-0.