Big match build-up: Sheffield United v Doncaster Rovers - Beware of the ex!

Billy Sharp
Billy Sharp

Shot shy Doncaster Rovers have prioritised offensive work on the training ground since Rob Jones took the reins.

But if they take their eye off the ball defensively for one second on Saturday they will be made to pay by one of their own favourite sons.

Billy Sharp had very evidently fallen out of love with football during his last spell at Doncaster.

He found goals hard to come by as Rovers slipped out of the Championship, while that bustling style of his became notably diluted.

Now back at the Lane, Sharp has quite clearly rediscovered his appetite for the game in the colours of his boyhood favourites.

With goals in five of his last six games, Rovers will come up against something they can only wish for at present - a striker bang in form in front of goal.

And then there is the ex-factor to consider too.

Throughout his career Sharp has made a habit of scoring against his former employees.

He did it for Rovers against Scunthorpe and the Blades, and against them for Southampton.

When there’s a little more than just three points at stake, an emotional pull if you like, Sharp is the kind of player that gets himself up for the occasion and tends to deliver. He unquestionably represents the biggest threat to Rovers on a ground where their recent record at least provides grounds for optimism.

They lost at the Lane for the first time in five games last season but the performance stood out as one of the best of an average campaign.

Just like Sharp, Doncaster have something of a habit of turning up for the big occasion.

Jones will certainly be hoping that the derby day atmosphere brings more out of his players than what he got against Walsall and Oldham, two pretty underwhelming performances.

Doncaster, languishing uncomfortably in the drop zone, are in desperate need of some sort of spark to bring their season to life - and a win here could just be the sort of springboard that is required.

Billy Sharp, however, is bound to have other ideas.