Doncaster Rovers: Ferguson taking pressure off star man Wright

Darren Ferguson believes the pressure of developing into a ball-playing defender weighed heavy on Joe Wright last season.

Thursday, 7th September 2017, 5:59 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 11:23 am
Joe Wright

But the Rovers boss believes going back to basics has brought the best out of the young centre half.

Wright has been arguably Rovers’ best performer over the first month of the season.

And Ferguson believes sticking to the defensive side of the game has seen the 22-year-old blossom.

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“Perhaps we focused a lot last season with Joe on improving him on the ball,” Ferguson told The Star.

“We didn’t take away the defending because we do a lot of work still.

“But maybe the conversation I had with him at the start of the season could have happened earlier – telling him to stick to the basics and defend.

“Perhaps him knowing we’re not looking for him to be that special player on the ball has maybe helped him focus on defending more.

“Joe is still fine on the ball. He’s improved on that, as Andy Butler has as well.

“I think Joe has probably been our most consistent performer so far this season.

“He’s done what he’s needed to do and he’s defended the right areas.”

Ferguson said his instructions to Wright have remained the same since the start of the season,

“It’s still defend and do the basics,” he said.

“Anything else is a bonus.

“Probably in this league, and different to last season, you probably don’t have as much possession and dominate the ball as much as we did last season.

“There’s probably not as much need for that defender who can come out and play in the midfield areas.

“He can do that but just stick to the basics of being a defender.”

Wright’s form has helped to ensure Mathieu Baudry’s injury absence has not been keenly felt.

Baudry is likely to return to training in three weeks as he recovers from his Achilles problem.

Luke McCullough is also set to return in the same timeframe after a positive meeting with his surgeon earlier this week.