What we learned about Doncaster Rovers this week - Budget talks rumble on, an assured debut and an unforgettable experience

As weeks go, this one has been a pretty lacklustre one for Rovers.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 6:00 am
Issam Ben Khemis shows off his skills during the kit launch.

Two goalless draws, the continuation of problems in front of goal, no progression on contracts.

But there has still been plenty of talking points.

things aren’t progressing quickly

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The finalising of the playing budget for next season will rumble on beyond the end of this campaign it seems.

So in terms of lining up additions or retaining out of contract players, there is not a great deal of progress that can be made by Darren Ferguson.

He will not speak of any frustration. He has made that clear in his responses to questions on the matter.

But it is certainly easy to read a sense of frustration in his voice and demeanour when he is asked.

This summer is pivotal if Rovers are to kick on next season and make the push for a top six finish.

Getting it started as soon as possible is going to be key.

just get it out of the way

Is anybody desperate for this season to carry on?

Certainly after two lacklustre performances and a pair of goalless draws, I can’t imagine there are many.

There’s plenty in the Rovers squad running on fumes and, with little to play for, it is showing in what they are producing on the pitch.

It’s disappointing the season would finish in this manner, particularly given they looked as though they were heading for a strong final few weeks right up until that mad Bury draw.

And there is the fact they have competed in the vast majority of matches.

Saturday’s final game cannot come soon enough for so many. Hopefully a decent enough season won’t be soured further.


The major positive for Rovers over the last week has been the league debut of Danny Amos – and an assured one at that.

He dealt superbly with an early switch in formation, moving from left back to wing back.

And he also took on the responsibility for set pieces, showing excellent delivery.

Amos is highly thought of by coaches at the club, which his appearances in this game reflects.

This is a step up from handing senior debuts in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Ferguson clearly sees Amos as a potential future solution to the left-sided problem Rovers have suffered from this season.

That probably won’t be next season, judging by comments made by Ferguson earlier this week.

And the 18-year-old’s league debut was a good start in his bid to show himself worthy of consideration.

it’s a bloody good club

The EFL don’t hand Family Excellence Gold Awards out for nothing.

In fact Rovers are one of only ten of the 72 clubs to receive the classification.

I had the privilege last week of being present at an event which showed just why Rovers deserve to be recognised for the work they do with families.

A group of young supporters were invited to the Keepmoat for a sneak peek at the new shirts for the 2018/19 season.

And the surprises just rolled on from there.

First they were told they could wear them for a kick-about on the pitch, then manager Darren Ferguson appeared for a team talk and then, after they walked onto the Keepmoat pitch, they were joined by members of the senior squad for the game.

Each one of these treats individually would have been special enough but together they made for an unforgettable experience for the kids.

It was hard not to have a smile on the face throughout.

Whatever you think about how right or wrong things are on the pitch, you cannot deny that Rovers get certain things spot on.


Namely, Andy Butler.

The club captain was handed our player of the year award at The Star Football Awards on Monday night and seemed rather bemused by it.

It took an explanation from my colleague Paul Goodwin to Andy for it to settle in why he was the one we selected.

A model of consistency from start to finish, he has enjoyed an excellent season back at League One level which meant his absence was felt when he was ruled out for three months.

And the manner he seamlessly slotted back in following his return showed just how good he has been this term.

His humble reaction to being awarded was great to see – as was the way in which he threw himself into the kit launch event like plenty of his team mates.

It leaves you in little doubt that Rovers possess a good group of players.

Maintaining that beyond the summer’s incomings and outgoings will be important.