It didn’t take long for Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson to lay down a marker for the new season.
The Monday morning after that sloppy final day defeat to Hartlepool United he (somewhat surprisingly) called Andy Williams, Harry Middleton and Mitchell Lund (among others) into his office and told them they would be made available for transfer.
In doing so the Scot effectively raised the bar ahead of the club’s return to League One and made it clear he is intent on taking Rovers to another level not simply in league status.
It wasn’t that long ago that Williams was paraded as a marquee signing by Paul Dickov and Middleton and Lund, each handed new deals since Ferguson took charge, were being tipped for bright futures. But their transfer-listing tells you that the manager now wants to go in a slightly different direction and won’t hesitate in making ruthless decisions to get there.
So what does he need to do this summer and how is his recruitment likely to shape up? Goalkeeper aside, he will look to strengthen right through the spine of the team.
John Marquis requires a new strike partner and it’s likely to be someone with a decent turn of pace and capable of playing off the shoulder, complementing Marquis’s ability to drop deep and hold up play.
Midfield has been identified as a key area that needs strengthening and Ferguson will be looking for someone who can score, create and lighten the load on talisman James Coppinger. He’s also keen to add some physicality in the middle of the pitch.
Ferguson wants his teams to be energetic, vibrant and mobile in attacking areas, and he’ll be on the lookout particularly for young forwards who can play in a variety of positions up top.
A left back is high on the list of priorties too, someone who can also offer natural width when the midfield takes the shape of a diamond, as is a left-sided centre half with a turn of pace.