Paul Goodwin: Time for Doncaster Rovers to wake from three-year slumber

Darren Ferguson knows Rovers must start the season well following their relegation from League One.
Darren Ferguson knows Rovers must start the season well following their relegation from League One.

A new brush has swept the Keepmoat Stadium clean this summer.

Ten new signings, as well as changes to the coaching team, training ground and at academy level, amount to Darren Ferguson not just putting his own stamp on Doncaster Rovers but a very conscious attempt to change a culture he previously described as “lax” and “stale”.

In the words of a senior club official “the manual has been ripped up”.

Rovers have sleepwalked from the Championship into League Two in the space of three instantly forgettable campaigns - and it is time for them to wake up.

The question is, though, have the changes gone far enough? And can this re-modelled Rovers team really turn over a new leaf after that 17-game nightmare?

Despite an improvement at the very end of last season, that horrendous sequence of results remains a stain on the record of Ferguson and also the players that have since survived the chop.

It is therefore absolutely paramount, for everyone’s sake, that Rovers get the new season off to a good start - to heal those scars and get this club moving in the right direction again.

Any disappointing results early on will need nipping in the bud very quickly. The last thing Ferguson needs is another poor run.

And the players that have remained at the club will have to quickly adapt to their new surroundings to silence any doubters too.

They were fine last season when things were going their way, as they showed when Ferguson was first appointed.

But they went completely missing when the going got tough - and that simply cannot happen again.

If people aren’t willing to step up to the plate, take responsibility, put their foot in, or have a go at a teammate when the need arises, then Rovers could face the same sort of problems that have hampered them ever since they slipped through the Championship trapdoor in 2014.

This season will be no walk in the park. Don’t expect teams just to roll over.

Clubs at this level will view Doncaster as a big scalp and probably raise their game when they step foot in the plush surroundings of the Keepmoat Stadium.

Rovers will have to rough it at times.

They will have to dig deep.

And they will have to show a damn sight more character than was on show last season if they harbour serious hopes of winning promotion at the first time of asking.

That aforementioned “manual” very clearly reads ‘must do better’.

And this time there are no excuses.