Legend looks forward to the ‘Peter Kitchen derby’

Brian Jeeves
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Doncaster Rovers v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – Keepmoat Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

It’s all about bouncing back for Leyton Orient when they head to much-improved Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The O’s impressive start to their Sky Bet League Two campaign was brought to a surprise conclusion by Newport County at Brisbane Road. Nevertheless, the East Londoners remain top of the table and former frontman, Peter Kitchen has more than a passing interest in what lies ahead at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“Both myself and O’s manager Richie Wellens will be looking forward to the game,” Kitchen told Yellow Sport.

“I’m an inductee into both clubs’ Hall of Fame for my goal-scoring exploits, while Richie had two successful spells as a player at Doncaster and has managed both clubs.

“I would dearly have liked to be at the game, but I am having some minor surgery the day before, so I’ll have to wait until the two teams play at Brisbane Road in January.

“This game has all the makings of a terrific encounter, with both sides looking for the win. O’s are hoping to bounce back from last Saturday’s surprising home defeat to Newport – our first loss of the season – whilst Rovers desperately need a win to reboot their play-off aspirations.

Kitchen scored more than 100 goals for Doncaster before moving to Brisbane Road: “Rovers were briefly in the top seven places following a six-game unbeaten run at the start of the season, with four wins and two draws,” he continued.

“But three consecutive defeats in early September saw them drop out of contention. Rovers looked to be back on a winning run with recent wins against Crawley and Rochdale, but lost in midweek at Hartlepool and have dropped to ninth, although level on points with seventh-placed Mansfield and still only one point off three of the other teams in the play-off places. A win against the O’s will see Rovers back in amongst the leading group.

“Doncaster has beaten some of the fancied teams above them, including third-placed Northampton Town and Salford in fifth. On their day Rovers have the ability and spirit to beat anyone in this league.

“Like the O’s on occasions, Rovers’ results have been better than their performance. They’re still searching for a level of consistency, but their fighting spirit has seen them come from behind to rescue valuable points very late in games against Wimbledon, Sutton and Stockport.

“Despite the Rovers’ relegation last season, their start has been positive under Gary McSheffrey in his first Managerial role which has seen them surpass expectations in terms of their League position.

“McSheffrey was promoted from Academy coach to Caretaker/Manager last December, ironically following the dismissal of Wellens after only six months in charge. Despite their relegation, he was given the job permanently shortly afterwards.

“He has brought in several new players in the summer but is still searching for his best team and the right system and has tried several formations, which in itself might be the reason for the lack of cohesion at times. Nevertheless, the 4-4-2 system, with Agard and Miller up front, looks to have been the most productive.

Kitchen concluded: “We all know that Orient has been flying and have made a record-breaking start to their campaign, so last week’s home defeat by Newport was a wake-up call that every team in this league can turn the form books upside down. Richie will demand his team bounce back and put Newport down as a bad day at the office.

“Orient certainly can’t afford to be complacent or dwell on the ball at the back which has cost them goals in some recent games. Rovers will pressurise our back line and while we have been dominating games and the possession, we do need to be more ruthless in front of goal and to put away a bigger percentage of the chances we are creating. There might be a start up front for either Drinan or Sotiriou.

“Despite last week’s defeat, the O’s are still top of League Two, have only lost once this season and their usually solid and dependable defence sees us with the best goal difference in the league. It will be a real test for the home side, who might also be missing several of their more experienced players through injury. They will need to be at their best and work very hard to get something from this game.

“I’m going to be diplomatic and sit on the fence for this one, so I’ll be wearing a red and white scarf at home and think this might be an entertaining score draw.”

Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Leyton Orient
Jeevesie’s prediction: Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Leyton Orient

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk