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Preview: Rovers Ladies v Doncaster Belles

The Blues welcome last season’s Women’s Super League 2 champions to Bamber Bridge

24 November 2018

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Rovers Ladies host Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday, looking to extend a three-point lead at the top of the league table.

Saffron Jordan scored a hat-trick as the Blues secured a 9-0 away victory at Doncaster on the opening day of the season.

And Rovers boss Gemma Donnelly is looking for a repeat performance in the reverse fixture at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Donnelly commented: “Our target for this game is to keep a clean sheet and to be clinical in front of goal. We want to play attractive but purposeful football.”

Tier two title holders Doncaster were demoted in the summer for off-the-field reasons and have subsequently struggled in the National League, losing nine of their opening 11 games.

However, they did pick up a vital 5-1 win over Bradford City Women last time out – the only team currently below the Belles in the table.

“Doncaster have an incredible history and I’m sure they are extremely frustrated to be playing tier three football after their wonderful success last season. They’ve lost a number of their experienced players and are relying on youth.”

The Rovers boss shares a similar feeling of frustration with Sunday’s opponents.

“We are as frustrated to still be playing in tier three after our wonderful league and cup success last season. But we’re doing everything we possibly can to show that we are worthy of a place in the division above.

Rovers have amassed 51 goals in the opening nine league games, conceding just two. Donnelly’s side had scored less than half of that amount at the same stage last season (23) and let in five at the other end.

“The strength and quality of this team is unbelievable and I think this shows in the results they have achieved so far this season.

“We have some wonderful players that could easily be playing in the top two tiers and at times we play top-class football.

Rovers beat Fleetwood Town Wrens 6-1 in the Lancashire FA Challenge Cup last weekend, to book a place in the last four of the competition.

“It might not have been one of our better performances, but I thought that Jess Holbrook, and Tash Flint when she came on, were excellent. And Dan Gibbons pulled off a great save early in the game to maintain the lead.”

Meanwhile, our Development team progressed to the Semi-Finals of the Reserve League Cup by defeating West Bromwich Albion Women 3-2 on Sunday.

“I must say a huge well done to them. Ellie Cash’s side have once again shown their intention and class in this league. Congratulations to them.”

You can see Rovers Ladies in action this Sunday at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles (2pm). The Development side host Bradford Women at Accrington and Rossendale College.

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