Harrogate Town travel to the Eco-Power Stadium in Doncaster this Saturday for their opening day League Two game against Doncaster Rovers. The hosts finished 18th in League Two in their first season back in the league after a six year stint in League One, a big downgrade for their return. Harrogate didn’t fare too much better, with a 19th place finish, they’ll be looking for the best start to improve upon it this season.
Doncaster finished too close to the relegation zone for comfort. The Rovers managed 16 wins for the season, a number that puts them on par with Grimsby in 11th, but the seven draws and 23 losses left Doncaster on 55 points. This left Grant McCann’s side just seven points ahead of the last relegation spot.
The Rovers managed to get their hands on one of Cambridge United’s top scorers Joe Ironside, Deji Sotona from Burnley’s U21 and Richard Wood from Rotherham in the Championships all on free transfers.
Doncaster played six games in their preseason runout, of which The Rovers won four of these six, drawing once and losing once. The singular loss came at the hands of York City, who edged a 1 - 0 win over The Rovers and the draw came away to Scunthorpe where the teams played out a 0 - 0 draw. As for the wins, Doncaster started their preseason with a 3 - 1 win over Rossington Main, followed by a 3 - 2 win over Boston United, The Rovers also managed a 1 - 0 win over Sheffield Wednesday and a 1 - 0 win against Port Vale.
The visitors for this weekend’s clash didn’t fare too much better last season, Harrogate finishing 19th in League Two. Harrogate were only three points adrift of Doncaster but grabbed four less wins in the season, only managing 12 wins. However, Harrogate racked in an impressive 16 draws and 18 losses, five less losses than Doncaster.
As for transfers this summer, Dean Cornelius joined from Motherwell, Matty Daly swapped Huddersfield for Harrogate and Liam Gibson joined from Morecambe, all three of these transfers coming with no transfer cost to the club.
Harrogate won three of their five preseason games, losing both of their other preseason encounters. A 2 - 0 win over Darlington, a 6 - 1 win over South Shields and a 2 - 1 win over Hartlepool rounds out the wins for Harrogate this preseason. However, the losses came against Lincoln City, a 3 - 1 loss and against Gateshead, a 2 - 0 loss.
In their last four games against each other, Doncaster and Harrogate have drawn once, with Doncaster taking the win twice while Harrogate have won just once. The most recent meeting between the two ended in a 2 - 2 draw, a result that is the likely outcome of this weekend’s clash. Though Doncaster have had the upper hand in this fixture in the past, the two sides were so evenly matched last season that a draw is a fair prediction for Saturday’s game.