Doncaster Rovers boss Andy Butler on team selection, playing two strikers and why he's desperate for continuity
Andy Butler is desperate to be allowed some continuity in his team selection at Doncaster Rovers before the end of the season.
Rovers have been beset with injuries over the past couple of months but Butler says the form of his players has also been a major factor in him making multiple changes to his line up for each game.
Butler has averaged 3.3 changes per game since taking charge of the side at the start of last month.
“If I’m being brutally honest there are not many players who could say they demand their spot and they’ve worked hard in that position,” he told the Free Press.
“It’s about looking at how we can improve the starting XI.
“Results haven’t been good enough and there’s not a single player - barring a couple - who could knock on my door and ask why they’re not starting because the results and performances haven’t shown why they should be.”
With Tyreece John-Jules set to return to action at Shrewsbury on Saturday and Reece James and Brad Halliday making positive progress, Butler is hopeful that he will soon have a fully fit squad to select from as he looks to improve Rovers’ fortunes.
“I think during the whole tenure of my management there has not really been the case to be able to play the same XI,” he said.
“Continuity is key sometimes and when you’re not able to play the same XI from the week before it’s difficult because relationships don’t build. Trust has to be built.
“It’s difficult when you’re constantly changing the side. Hopefully we can get that continuity and improve the performances.”
Butler switched to a 4-4-2 system for Tuesday’s defeat to Burton Albion and revealed he has been keen for some time to pair Omar Bogle and Fejiri Okenabirhie as a strike partnership, but absences elsewhere in the side prevented him from doing so sooner.
He said: “We’ve got two strikers in Fej and Omar and I believe they work better in a two.
“It was just a thought, and getting Josh Sims on the wing to run at full backs.
“I thought it worked but the weekend is a different challenge and we’ll address the game and formation accordingly to how we think we can hurt Shrewsbury.”
The Rovers boss believes both his strikers are in the need of a confidence-boosting goal.
Bogle has not netted in his last six appearances with Okenabirhie failing to score in his last eight - though he did have one chalked off for a contentious handball against Burton.
“It comes down to confidence with strikers,” Butler said. “Sometimes you look at strikers that are having a tough run and they need that goal to go in.
“It just needs to go in off their shin, their backside and you’ll see the players lifted.
“With the goal Fej scored the other night, that is where you want your strikers - in the middle of that box.
“I keep emphasising to them that we need them in the box and getting the service to them.
“My key points to the strikers is to stay in the box. Rather than come out and create something for someone else, stay in the box and let someone create for you.”