Very few people could have predicted that bottom-of-the-table Doncaster would manage to pick up a result of any kind at promotion-chasing Sunderland at the weekend, never mind all three points.
However, that is exactly what Gary McSheffrey’s side managed, after first-half goals from Reo Griffiths and Tommy Rowe saw them record an excellent victory against the odds, despite a late goal from Corry Evans setting up a nervy finish in the 2-1 win.
After seven defeats and a single win in the previous eight games, Donny’s hopes of remaining in the third tier come May looked to be fading away rapidly, but the fantastic result at the Stadium of Light on Saturday could well be the catalyst required to kickstart their survival bid.
Tuesday’s hosts remain eight points from safety at the foot of the League One table, and face another promotion contender in the form of Ipswich in the week, but their performance at the weekend displayed to the division what they could be capable of in the coming months.
Although, should Doncaster look to pick up back-to-back successes by recording another win on Tuesday, their dreadful home form will need to be put to the back of their minds, after winning one and losing seven of their last 10 in front of their own supporters.
Meanwhile, Ipswich’s late push for the playoff spots in League One had another boost on Saturday, thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over struggling Gillingham at Portman Road.
It was not the greatest performance by Kieran McKenna’s side, but Conor Chaplin’s goal in the 74th minute was enough to seal the three points.
After seeing their relegation-threatened visitors strike the woodwork twice, and arguably deserve at least a share of the points, the former Manchester United coach will be looking for his players to put in an improved display against another struggling outfit on Tuesday.
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However, the Tractor Boys narrowed the gap to the top six to eight points in the process, thanks to Wycombe Wanderers not being in action at the weekend.
The revival in form under McKenna was also extended with the result, with Ipswich having lost just twice in his eight games in charge since taking over at the end of December.
Another positive that the visitors will be hoping to take into the clash will be the success they enjoyed over their hosts when they last met back in September, when Ipswich hammered Doncaster by a 6-0 scoreline under previous manager Paul Cook.