Former Sunderland and Doncaster striker is sitting on the fence ahead of League One clash

Chris Brown playing for Doncaster.
Chris Brown playing for Doncaster.

Former Sunderland and Doncaster striker Chris Brown is sitting on the fence ahead of tonight's meeting between the two sides.

The 33-year-old, who also played for Norwich, Preston and Blackburn, retired from football back in March, 14 years after making his debut for the Black Cats.

Born in Doncaster, Brown was raised in Sunderland and made over 67 appearances for the Wearsiders between 2004 and 2007 after coming through the club's youth academy.

Brown also spent four years at Rovers, who he joined in 2011, and has fond memories of both clubs.

“I’m going to have a say a draw, otherwise I’ll get pelters," Brown told Doncaster Free Press when asked to make a prediction for tonight's game.

“It's great to see both teams doing well.

“Grant McCann's come in and rejuvenated the squad at Doncaster. His recruitment has been very good.

“I haven’t seen any of the games but I’ve seen some of the goals and the way he’s got them playing.

“The new ownership’s rejuvenated Sunderland and a massive cloud has been lifted. The fans are really getting behind them and it reminds me of the time when Niall Quinn took over the club and I was playing.

Brown believes Sunderland will win promotion from the third tier this campaign, due to their attacking firepower.

And the former striker has been impressed with one man in particular.

“There seems to be a positive energy around the club and that can transfer onto the pitch," Brown added.

“I think they’re a few points off the top but they’re too good a team not to go up from that league. It’ll be a proper test for Donny.

"The main man for Sunderland is Chris Maguire. I know Josh Maja’s got the goals but it’s Maguire making them tick at the moment and he’s been a great find for them on a free transfer."

Brown is also backing Doncaster to be in the promotion mix at the end of the season, and thinks Rovers can cause Sunderland problems at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“We’re a quarter of the season in and they’re up there," he said.

“It’s a bit worrying the amount of goals Rovers concede at times but the fans must be happy.

“I think both sets of fans will be happy. Sunderland’s fans are just enjoying going to the games again.

“So I can see both teams being up there at the end of the season."

Sunderland will have to be wary of Doncaster striker John Marquis, who is the division's joint top scorer, alongside Josh Maja, Rochdale's Ian Henderson and Peterborough's Matt Godden.

As Brown points out, Rovers' promotion hopes could rest on the 26-year-old striker.

“You’re always guaranteed goals with big John so if you can keep him fit they’ll do well," said Brown.

"That league is all about momentum. When we got promoted in 2013 we didn’t play great every week but we picked up results.

“I think Donny have got enough in their team to grind out results, especially with the experience they’ve got.”