The momentous Charlton v Doncaster play-off semi final at The Valley was only sixteen months ago but the contrast could hardly be greater.
The high tension in the packed crowd and the exuberance after the final whistle created a moment that few present will forget. Because it took place at The Valley it rivalled even the scenes at Wembley the following week in terms of emotional resonance. This Saturday the two teams meet again in a League One fixture and we find ouselves celebrating that it will at least be possible for the game to be attended by up to a thousand supporters.
It is another sign of the times that only one player in the starting eleven from each side in May 2019 was in the line-up when the teams kicked off the new League season last Saturday. For Doncaster that was their captain James Whiteman. For Charlton it was (then loanee) Ben Purrington.
One player who was in the Doncaster squad last Saturday was the incredible James Coppinger who signed a new one year contract for this season, at the end of which he has announced he will finally retire. The 39 year old has now made 658 appearances for Donny over sixteen consecutive seasons with the club. He made his debut for Newcastle in the Premier League in the 2001/2 season - two years before Charlie Barker was born.
Doncaster's two games this season are a 2-3 defeat at Blackburn in the EFL cup and a 1-1 draw at home to Milton Keynes last Saturday. Their performance at Ewood Park was apparently quite impressive and they were leading 2-1 mid way through the second half. They should provide stronger opposition than Swindon or Crewe but we are confident that, until injuries start to make Lee Bowyer's thin squad even thinner, it should be strong enough to win games like this.
Details of how to watch the game are here: