DONCASTER Rovers will cross swords with Stevenage for the first time at Football League level in Saturday’s League One clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Midfielder David Syers is the only Rovers man to have played against them since their promotion from the Conference in the 2009-10 season.
“I played both League Two games against them in the 2010-11 season during my time at Bradford City,” recalled Syers.
“I’ve since seen them on television and I don’t think too much has changed.
“A new manager has come in since Graham Westley moved to Preston, but they have the same work ethic and are hard to play against.
“They are a very well organised outfit who have made some useful additions since being promoted to League One a couple of years ago.
“Centre midfelder Andy Grant has gone there from Southend. I’ve played against him a few times and I rate him highly.
“They’ve learnt how to win games, winning promotion from the Conference and League Two and they’ve brought that know-how into League One.
“They’ve certainly exceeded expectations but the players are no mugs and that has been shown by the fact that one or two of them have gone on to better things.
“They’ve brought good players in and ensured that the players who were already there don’t get complacent.
“There is no rule that says that they can’t continue to be successful just because they are a small club.
“They reached the play-offs last season and they’ve started this season very well, so it’s going to be tough.
“In the past they’ve often played more of a 4-5-1 formation with a lot of people pushing on.
“They are very hard to break down at the back and they attack in numbers.
“We’ve got to believe that the likes of Sheffield United, who we drew 0-0 with on Tuesday, and Stevenage, are going to be up there towards the end of the season so taking points off them will obviously be a bonus. The result at Bramall Lane made it four points from two away games and that is a decent return.
“We haven’t a divine right to beat everyone (just because we’ve come down from the Championship) and we have to give the opposition the respect they deserve.
“We know we aren’t going to win every game but we are pleased with the start we have made and where we are and we’ve also got a game in hand over the clubs above us.
“But it’s early days and we’ve not got to think we are going to win the league if we pick up a couple of wins or think we are going to be relegated if we lose a couple.
“The league is going to be up and down towards Christmas and the idea is to pick up as many points as we can and see where we are then.”
Syers has proved an inspired summer signing by Rovers boss Dean Saunders and he has quickly become a firm favourite with the fans - not least because of his tremendous workrate and his ability to get on the end of the ball in the box.
He has also shown his versatility by playing as an emergency striker.