SPORT MATTERS: Rovers need to be as hard as ‘Nayls’

Will former Leeds skipper Richard Naylor be the answer to Rovers' defensive woes?
Will former Leeds skipper Richard Naylor be the answer to Rovers' defensive woes?

AN ageing Leeds United defender - and boyhood Whites fan - might not be everyone’s preferred summer signing, writes Paul Goodwin.

But Richard Naylor, complete with his White Rose tattoo, is just the sort of player that Doncaster crave.

The former Leeds captain is thought to be at the top of Sean O’Driscoll’s wanted list.

And his priority has to be players who have been there, done it and got the t-shirt and/or tattoo.

Too often last season Rovers were a soft touch, too easy to play against and generally too nice.

Their soft centre was cruelly exposed in the batterings they took against Cardiff, Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds.

For most of the season - until the late emergence of Wayne Thomas - they lacked a genuine leader.

They conceded too many late goals - a habit not helped by the absence of a vocal organiser at the back.

And Rovers’ nicey nicey approach was all too evident prior to almost every single game, when the manager would wax lyrical about the opposition on the club’s official website.

This time around things need to change.

No more Mr Nice Guys.

Doncaster need to get nasty - because only the strongest will survive in the toughest Championship yet.

The arrival of Naylor would not solve everything.

But he would add some much-needed experience, know-how and aggression to a back four that needs cajoling and a bit of consistency.

A powerful and dominant centre half to complement the more cultured George Friend is a must.

But I wouldn’t stop there.

The squad could really do with a midfield destroyer-type - a player with physical stature who doesn’t mind putting his foot in.

A bigger, stronger and faster version of Paul Keegan if you like.

While a big burly centre forward would not go amiss either - someone like Jon ‘the Beast’ Parkin.

Rovers showed they were up for the fight last term as a catalogue of injuries meant they had to sacrifice their usual passing game and battle their way out of trouble.

This season it’s about getting the balance right.

There needs to be style as well as substance.

But the more Naylor-types that can be added to the squad over the summer - tattoos n’all - the more chance Rovers have of making their mark on the Championship.

n Footballers all too often get a bad name, and their charity work commonly goes unnoticed.

But that’s not the case at Doncaster Rovers.

Congratulations to the entire Inca Trek team - the town is proud of you.