Paul Goodwin's Rovers column: Keep things simple - like what Mike Bassett said!

You know what fictional England manager Mike Bassett once said about 4-4-2.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 24th March 2016, 5:00 am
Midfielder Tommy Rowe is likely to come into the side this weekend.
Midfielder Tommy Rowe is likely to come into the side this weekend.

And it appears in the case of Doncaster Rovers right now, he probably has a point.

Darren Ferguson was reluctant to describe the switch to Bassett’s preferred formation against Peterborough as a “back to basics” approach. He instead said it was designed to counter United’s midfield diamond.

But after also stating in the aftermath of the pitiful performance at Bradford a week previously that he had to decide whether his players were good enough to play in more intricate formations - namely the diamond and 3-5-2 - it appears the Scot may have come round to the view that it is time to keep things as simple as possible.

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Judging by the improved display against the Posh, he would probably be well advised to keep things the same for this weekend’s huge double-header with Colchester United and Blackpool.

Ferguson could not be blamed at the onset of this horrendous run for giving 3-5-2, the formation that helped transform this team’s fortunes during the first 15 games of his tenure, every chance to come good again. Let’s not forget it worked very well before the turn of the year and seemed to suit the players at the manager’s disposal.

But the longer Rovers have since gone without a win, Ferguson’s switching of the system and personnel in an attempt to find a winning formula looks like it may have become somewhat counter-productive.

The return to a straightforward 4-4-2 with James Coppinger and Cameron Stewart on the flanks, a structure in which everyone is very clear on what their job entails, was the most sensible thing to do in a bid to end this wretched sequence of results.

Annoying, then, that the midfield unit must be changed again tomorrow as a result of Luke McCullough’s international call. However in Tommy Rowe, Rovers appear to have someone who can slot straight into that position.

As Mike would say - ‘keep it simple’. Or words to that effect.