Gavin Baldwin column: FA Cup, artificial pitches, league form and ‘positive dialogue’ with Knights and Belles

Gavin Baldwin
Gavin Baldwin
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With the original tie being postponed for ten days, it was great to finally play in the FA Cup this season with a victory over Weston-Super-Mare last Tuesday.

As we saw with Exeter, ties against non-league opposition can be tricky to overcome but I thought the players took to the game in a professional manner and we now face Oldham in the next round.

Directly following the game on Tuesday the players gave their shirts to the travelling supporters, many of whom had made the trip to Weston-Super-Mare for the second time.

I thought this was a great gesture from Paul Dickov and his players and hopefully made the trip worthwhile for those who managed to grab a souvenir.

The postponed game against Weston-Super-Mare raised the question of clubs being able to use artificial pitches again, particularly following the Football League’s vote not to include them in League One and Two for 2015/16.

Ultimately a postponed game is costly for both the supporters who have travelled to the fixture and the clubs participating in the game and so there is an argument for them from some camps.

We, of course, tried to help with the costs for the rearranged game by helping to subsidise part of the travel costs with the supporters club, thank you to both Len South and Paul Mayfield for making this possible.

On the subject of artificial pitches I know the PFA have publically stated their stance is being against plastic pitches having spoken to their members. It’s a difficult issue and one that is going to

split opinions and I’m sure it will be raised again in the future.

Our form continues to be mixed in the league. An away win at Bradford at the beginning of the month was a great victory and it’s a shame that it couldn’t be followed up with a home win against Sheffield United.

Professional sport is about fine margins and with a Sheffield United being down to ten men and facing a penalty, had the spot kick gone in I’m sure we would have been talking about back to back victories for the first time in the league this season.

A good away win at Rochdale shook off the blues from our derby day defeat to Sheffield United, once again our away form is proving to be better than our home. With at least two games in hand on most of the teams above us, back to back wins in those games could put us back up the league towards the play-off places.

Much is always made of the budget Paul has to spend on players and as we have seen from the loan signings brought in, there is additional monies to spend for the manager, if he believes it is right to do so. The return of Sam Johnstone is a great coup for the club and is purely down to the relationship Paul has built with Manchester United. Meanwhile, I think those who have seen him play will agree Andy Butler is a fantastic acquisition in the heart of defence.

Away from football and Club Doncaster Foundation have received some fantastic educational results, last year they put 170 people through qualifications and are already looking to expand their proposition for next year. If you are aged 16-19 and interested in further education, the Foundation really are an exciting proposition.

Meanwhile, as part of our brief to ensure Keepmoat Stadium is a community stadium that can benefit all of Doncaster, we were really pleased with he recent Big Bang event, which thousands of people attended.

As we continue to look at ways in which Club Doncaster can grow we have entered into positive dialogue about how we can work with both Doncaster Rovers Belles and the Knights about creating a product that no other town can enjoy and expect to see information about this shortly.

As always thank you for your continued support of the team, it is always appreciated. In Rovers We Trust.