Doncaster vs Gillingham predictions and betting tips for this opening League One fixture on Saturday 3rd August. It’s all change at both of these clubs with Donny and Gillingham starting this campaign with new managers. Can either of them get off to a winning start?
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Doncaster were last season’s overachievers in League One, and they managed to reach the play-offs under the management of Grant McCann. The Northern Irishman has left for pastures new, and former West Brom boss Darren Moore takes over at the Keepmoat. Crucially, Donny have lost a number of players with Andy Butler and Marek Rodak both leaving South Yorkshire whilst loanees Herbie Kane and Malik Wilks will not be returning. They do still have the evergreen James Coppinger, whilst the addition of Ben Sheaf could be a piece of extremely savvy recruitment. A number of younger players will be hoping to stake a claim for a place in the XI, and it’ll be interesting to see which tactics will be employed by Moore. They have plenty to live up following last season’s heroics, and the majority of fans have already tempered their predictions. It’s a competitive division, and there’s no reason why Doncaster can’t finish in the top half, but a play-off push seems unlikely. Moore was criticised for his style of play at WBA, and although the majority of the media believed his sacking was harsh, he will be hoping to rebuild his reputation here at the Keepmoat.
Read More: See all of our League One picks for the opening weekend of the season
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has divided the fanbase with the appointment of Steve Evans. The larger-than-life boss has lived up to his reputation by signing a large amount of players this summer, and it’ll be a very different Gills side to the one which ended last season. They’ve lost Tom Eaves and Thomas Holy, but have added Jack Bonham, Lee Hodson, Ousseynou Cisse and Mark Marshall amongst others. Mikael Mandron is unlikely to replace the goals of Eaves, but he will work hard, and will offer plenty of energy in the final third. Gillingham always looked like they were going to be safe last season, but they did go through patches of inconsistency, and Evans will be looking to avoid too many barren spells once again. The former Mansfield and Peterborough manager’s teams tend to start quickly, and they should be ready for this contest. It is the fourth season in a row that the Gills open the season with an away game, and they’ll be hoping to capitalise on the fact that they are facing another side in transition.
It’s never advised to read too much into pre-season friendlies, so it’s hard to establish how ready each of these sides will be. Steve Evans has never won an opening day fixture away from home, and this is a tough ask for his men. Donny will be weaker this season, but they still have the nucleus of a decent squad, and I’d expect them to get better as the season progresses. They could also utilise the loan market ahead of the window closing, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some PL stars of the future arriving at the Keepmoat. For now, this looks like it could be heading for a stalemate. Four of the last six meetings between these sides have ended all-square, whilst Gillingham have left with a point in each of their last three visits here. These two sides did meet on the opening day of the 2017-18 campaign, and it ended goalless. Another draw looks likely.
13/5 is generous enough for the draw, but it’s a juicy 5/1 for Draw/Draw in the HT/FT market here, and that could be worth a very small poke.
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