Analysis: Ferguson's reputation hinges on Rovers promotion push
Darren Ferguson knows full well that his neck will be on the line next season - and so too will his reputation.
Only a genuine promotion challenge will do for Doncaster Rovers. Play-offs, minimum.
Having backed Ferguson to the hilt this summer, to the tune of seven new signings and counting, the Rovers board will be expecting a decent return for their investment.
So the Scot will undoubtedly be under pressure right from the off to make amends for last term’s calamitous relegation - not least from a fan base that has seen their club slide from the Championship to League Two in the space of two years.
Ferguson, though, is likely to put even more pressure on himself, as he aims to re-build his own career in management. Like Rovers, he needs to get back on an upward trajectory.
After being sacked by Peterborough in February last year, he purposefully took time out before returning to football.
The next job had to the right one; one Ferguson felt would give him the best opportunity of managing at the highest possible level.
So to now find himself back in League Two, where he started out as a rookie player-manager at Peterborough almost a decade ago, will feel like a slap in the face for the 44-year-old.
And, for someone who was being touted as one of the best young managers on the circuit when he instantly led Posh to back-to-back promotions, it’s not somewhere he will be planning on staying long.
Despite a poor stint at Preston and the disastrous 17-game sequence without a win that led to Rovers’ relegation, his good standing in the game remains intact. The fact he has convinced Tommy Rowe, Mathieu Baudry and Gary McSheffrey to play in League Two next season tells you as much.
Ferguson is a confident, decisive and somewhat ruthless coach whose past record suggests he is well qualified to get Rovers back into League One at the first time of asking. His proactive summer clearly demonstrates the need to get next season off to a flying start - but not just for Doncaster’s sake, also for his own.