Johnstone's Paint Trophy final - Bristol Rovers vs Doncaster
Paul Trollope insists his side are firm underdogs ahead of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final - but the Bristol Rovers boss also believes he has the players at his disposal to hurt Doncaster.
26 Mar 2007
The two teams meet at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Sunday with 25 places separating League Two Rovers from Sean O'Driscoll's League One play-off chasers.
Trollope knows his side's record this season against teams from higher divisions reads favourably and he is backing his men to play free from pressure and make life difficult for Doncaster.
He said: "We are definitely the underdogs because they are from the league above. We will give them respect because they are a good footballing side but we also have players capable of hurting the opposition.
"Sean O'Driscoll showed how good a manager he is at Bournemouth and now he is building a squad to challenge for promotion to the Championship.
"We are in League Two but we also like to play football and knock the ball about and we are confident that on a big pitch against good opposition we can compete against teams in higher divisions - we proved that over two games in the area final against Bristol City.
"When we have gone into games against teams from higher divisions we have played very well. As well as Bristol City, we went to Derby in the FA Cup and we were unlucky not to get a result there.
"This kind of challenge brings the best out of us and hopefully that will be evident again on Sunday.
"The pressure will be off and we will be able to just go out and perform. We are taking a lot of fans there and it will be a great day out but we want to win."
Doncaster's Adam Lockwood revealed his side's showpiece Johnstone's Paint Trophy final against Bristol Rovers is one good reason why aspiring players make so many sacrifices in order to make the grade in the professional game.
Neither side has appeared in a major cup final before and although Lockwood is anxious to prepare for the showdown as if it was any other game, this fact is not lost on the 25-year-old defender.
Lockwood told PA Sport: "If we are the players who can do it for Doncaster and win them their first major cup then I will be grateful to have been part of the team.
"To be a part of any successful side is what every player strives for and to win on Sunday will be a real achievement.
"This is why every player is in the game. You dream of playing in big games like this. You dream of being successful and you want all the glory that goes with it.
"If you don't have those ambitions, if you don't want it enough, you probably aren't going to make it as a professional footballer."
Doncaster secured their big day out by beating Huddersfield, Hartlepool, Accrington, Darlington and latterly Crewe in a thrilling northern area final which was decided in the second leg by Jason Price's last-gasp goal.
And although they have already beaten three League Two sides along the way, Lockwood is wary of the threat Rovers will provide.
He added: "They might be in League Two, but we know enough about Bristol Rovers to know they are in the final on merit.
"They've come through the competition like we have done, by beating some good sides. They have already proved they're good enough to be in the final.
"The win over Bristol City will have given them a lot of confidence and has shown us just how good they can be."