DCSIMG

Paul Goodwin: Five key areas Paul Dickov must address - and quickly

Paul Dickov

Paul Dickov

  • by Paul Goodwin
 

Reporter Paul Goodwin picks out five key areas Paul Dickov must address before the start of the new League One season.

Sign a goalkeeper

As it stands, Doncaster face starting their pre-season schedule at Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday without a senior goalkeeper on their books.

Pre-season is the perfect time for a stopper to develop an understanding with his back four - particularly if he is new to the club.

So if Dickov is considering signing a new number one, he needs to do it as quickly as possible and give him time to bed in.

Should Ross Turnbull agree to stay on, Doncaster will have a ready-made, top quality keeper for League One - whose shot-stopping can save and win points.

The former Chelsea man, however, will need to be more dominant from crosses and deliveries into the box, with more teams at this level likely to choose the aerial route.

Whether Turnbull fancies dropping down to League One remains to be seen.

Defensive cover

Doncaster were caught short in the centre back position last season.

They relied too much on first choice pair Rob Jones and Bongani Khumalo staying fit. They didn’t.

Forced to blood several young defenders at the same time, Rovers’ results nosedived during the winter months.

With lingering doubts over the fitness and durability of twin towers Rob Jones and Jamie McCombe, it could be a big season for Luke McCullough - the youngster who impressed most in Doncaster’s back four last term.

But Dickov can’t afford to leave himself short of cover again.

He needs a minimum of four players who can play centre back. One more if Jones is struggling.

Find a reliable right back

Right back was something of a problem position for Rovers last season. It has been, arguably, since the departure of James O’Connor.

Paul Quinn’s contract limbo situation has placed a major question mark next to his Doncaster future.

And Dickov appears to be preparing for life without Quinn, by handing a trial to Jon Otsemobor.

The 31-year-old has had injury problems of his own in the past but has a decent reputation within the game. Rovers need to find someone reliable and consistent in that position.

Unearth Richie Wellens’ successor

Richie Wellens, if he remains at Doncaster, is not getting any younger.

The cut and thrust of League One is also bound to take its toll on his body - so Rovers need a back-up.

Now’s the perfect time to try and find a younger version of Rovers’ Rolls Royce midfielder - someone who Wellens himself can guide, coach and influence while he’s still at the club.

The Dean Furman/Paul Keegan partnership did not work. It lacked penetration, poise and the ability to hurt teams.

A forward-thinking midfielder, comfortable with the ball at his feet, is a must for Dickov.

Johnny-on-the-spot

Chris Brown’s exit was a big blow for Dickov. His work ethic and ability to hold up play will be sorely missed.

Compensating for the loss of Brown’s physical attributes is one thing.

But the priority for Dickov has to be to find someone who knows where the net is. A Johnny-on-the-spot. A poacher.

Billy Sharp’s arrival initially lifted Rovers’ squad. All of a sudden they knew they had someone in the team who could score out of nothing.

Sadly their former hero’s form dipped dramatically. Dickov’s job is to find the new Billy Sharp.

 

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