Are Doncaster Rovers planning to revive their under-23s development squad?

Doncaster Rovers ditched their development squad two years ago and there have been calls by some supporters for it to be reintroduced.

By Paul Goodwin
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 11:41 am
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 11:56 am

Youngsters Liam Ravenhill, Lirak Hasani, Ben Blythe and AJ Greaves have all featured for the first team this season but struggled to make the big jump from youth team to senior side.

Rovers had made a concerted effort to develop an under-23s section after it was previously scaled back following the club’s last relegation to League Two in 2016.

But the financial pressures of the pandemic ultimately led to the plug again being pulled in the summer of 2020.

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Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey, who initially coached the club’s U23s before becoming youth team manager, admitted this week that there are no immediate plans to relaunch the development squad.

“I obviously used to look after that role at the club and it was good,” said McSheffrey.

“But I don’t think next year there will be one introduced.

“I think it could be something we plan for the future.

“But I think next year we just have to focus on getting the right personnel in that can sustain a good season and put us back to where we want to be.”

Max Watters, Shane Blaney, Rieves Boocock, Myron Gibbons, Rian McLean, Cody Prior and Will Longbottom were among a raft of young players who were allowed to leave Rovers as the under-23s squad was disbanded in 2020.

Watters was picked up by Crawley Town where he scored 16 goals in 22 appearances before joining Cardiff City for £1million.

Rovers welcome Burton Albion to the Eco-Power Stadium tomorrow for their final home game of a horrid season.

Rovers are all but down due to their inferior goal difference but relegation will be mathematically confirmed if Rovers fail to win or Gillingham avoid defeat at Portsmouth or Fleetwood Town beat AFC Wimbledon.