Preview: Doncaster Rovers vs. Sheffield Wednesday

Doncaster manager Paul Dickov prior to kick off against Wigan on August 20, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship South Yorkshire derby between Doncaster and Sheffield Wednesday at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Doncaster Rovers have removed themselves from the immediate danger of relegation, but a win over Sheffield Wednesday in their South Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday could go a long way to securing their Championship status next season.

Rovers are now five points clear of the drop zone having gone three matches without losing, picking up maximum points against Huddersfield Town and Watford before holding Nottingham Forest to a goalless draw last weekend.

A third win in the space of four games could lift Paul Dickov's side up to 18th in the table, but defeat could also drag them right back into the relegation mire.

Their biggest concern will be the three games in hand that Charlton Athletic have, but even if the Addicks make the most of them then Doncaster's fate is still in their own hands.

However, the teams below them are beginning to pick up points with more regularity, so Dickov will be desperate to continue his side's own good form for as long as possible.

Their matches at the Keepmoat will be crucial to that, as Doncaster have picked up an impressive eight home wins this season compared to just one on the road.

Indeed, they are unbeaten in their last seven league outings at home, conceding just three goals and scoring 12 in that time. That fine defensive record goes hand in hand with their recent run against Wednesday, to whom they have not conceded in their last five meetings.

However, Dickov does have injury worries in his backline, with Bongani Khumalo and Gabriel Tamas joining fellow centre-backs Jamie McCombe and Rob Jones on the sidelines.

That could well be an important factor against a Wednesday side full of confidence following their impressive 3-0 home win against Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.

The list of good performances under Stuart Gray is already a long one, and Wednesday have quickly moved from relegation candidates to a solid midtable side in no danger of being dragged back down the standings.

In fact, they are now closer to the playoff positions than they are to the bottom three, which is testament to the turnaround the club has achieved this season.

However, their form away from home has begun to stutter, with back-to-back defeats without scoring ending a seven-match unbeaten streak on the road.

They will look to rectify that this weekend as they go in search of a top-half finish that looked to be an impossibility just a few months ago, and Gray could name an unchanged side to the one that beat QPR in midweek.

Recent form

Doncaster: DLLWWD

Sheff Weds: LWLLWW

Possible starting lineups

Doncaster: Johnstone; Coppinger, Quinn, Meite, Husband; Duffy, Keegan, Wellens, Cotterill; Sharp, Brown

Sheff Weds: Martinez; Buxton, Onyewu, Loovens, Helan; Maguire, Lee, Palmer, Lavery; Nuhiu, Best

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Forest boss Billy Davies during the match against Watford on August 25, 2013
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