'Alarm bells are ringing' - Lee Turnbull's strong views on Doncaster Rovers' misfiring strikers and what needs to happen in January

Doncaster Rovers must invest in a proven goalscorer in January if they are to stave off the threat of relegation to League Two.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 6:00 am
Tiago Cukur in action against Scunthorpe. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX

That’s the verdict of BBC Radio Sheffield’s Rovers pundit Lee Turnbull who says strikers Joe Dodoo, Jordy Hiwula and Tiago Cukur have failed to convince him that they can fire the club to safety.

Rovers are currently the lowest scorers in League One having netted just 11 times in 16 games. Dodoo, Hiwula and Watford loanee Cukur have each scored one league goal this season.

Speaking ahead of Rovers’ 1-0 FA Cup first round win at Scunthorpe United, former Rovers forward Turnbull said: “In my opinion the best Doncaster Rovers player is Tommy Rowe. Tommy’s their leading goalscorer at the moment – I think with three goals, I stand corrected.

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“That says to me that at the moment the strikers aren’t firing.

“I don’t think that Joe Dodoo, Jordy Hiwula and Tiago Cukur between them will get 30 goals this season. I don’t think they’ll get anywhere near that.

“I’m pretty convinced, having watched them quite a few times, that none of them will get double figures.

“That, for me, means alarm bells are ringing.

“We know that [Fejiri] Okenabirhie potentially is not far away from coming back in.

“But I think in January – and this is really difficult – that the board have got to support Richie Wellens to try and find that elusive ten-goal striker from January until the end of the season because at the moment I just don’t see where the goals are coming from.

“I just see a real disconnect not in the style of play but the chances created and most importantly putting the ball in the back of the net.

“Some might say if you’ve got so much possession in a game you’re going to create chances. I get that. But when the possession’s in the middle third of the pitch, you’re not going to create many chances.

“I think Rovers have to be a little bit more on the front foot, a little bit more direct and I think ultimately they still need a Jon Taylor in the team, an Okenabirhie in the team and one other because I’m not convinced at the moment with Cukur, Dodoo or Hiwula.”

Rovers had a difficult end to the summer transfer window as they lost out to Rotherham United in their bid to sign Sunderland striker Will Grigg and then saw a last minute loan deal for Black Cats striker Aiden O’Brien collapse following an administrative error before signing free agent Dodoo on a two-year deal.

Asked if Rovers should have futher bolstered their striking options over the summer, Turnbull added: “We don’t know the budgetary restraints to what Richie Wellens is working to. I know Richie was probably not one hundred per cent happy that the squad wasn’t in place sooner rather than later – it was very much throughout the month of August that players were still coming into the team.

“You do get a period of time where you do want to settle into formations and get players up to speed.

“I would argue now that the players are fully up to speed so they need to produce now. There’s jobs on the line here. There’s also the chance of Rovers being embroiled in a real relegation fight.

“The majority of Rovers fans know that this is going to go right to the wire until the end of the season. Richie needs support in January, that’s my opinion.”