Doncaster Rovers boss expects to resolve goalkeeping situation imminently

Richie Wellens expects Doncaster Rovers will complete the signing of a goalkeeper in the next 48 hours.

By Liam Hoden
Monday, 2nd August 2021, 5:00 am

Queens Park Rangers keeper Dillon Barnes came off the bench during the second half of Sunday’s friendly at Harrogate Town

Wellens says the 25-year-old is a potential loan signing but not the only one as he looks to secure a keeper prior to the start of the season at the weekend.

“Dillon Barnes has come from QPR,” Wellens told the Free Press. “Paul Gerrard has a good relationship with Gavin Ward at QPR and that’s the thinking behind that.

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Trialist keeper Dillon Barnes claims a high ball against Harrogate Town. Picture: Steve Flynn/AHPIX

“We’re hoping to have a keeper in in the next 48 hours.

“It could be Dillon Barnes but we also have two other irons in the fire.

“We need it. We need some experience or quality in there to really push Louis.”

Jones made a costly error in the previous friendly against Sheffield United and looked shaky at times at Harrogate.

Wellens says mistakes are to be expected from a youngster with only 17 senior appearances to his name but he has pledged to do all he can to help Jones improve.

“He’s a development player,” he said. “He’s had no experience in terms of exposure to the first team environment other than the games last year with no supporters in there.

“We get that and we’re willing to work with him. I want Louis to be a fantastic goalkeeper but there are not many goalkeepers who are fantastic at 22. They make mistakes, their game management isn’t as good.

“It’s a learning curve for him and we need to make sure we give him all the tools he needs to succeed.

“More than anything it’s his decision-making. When to kick it when we’re spread - never do that.

“He made a silly throw out which let Harrogate back into the game.

“It’s not a problem. He’s going through a development stage and we’ll get him through that.”

Wellens has been so far frustrated in his attempts to add a second senior goalkeeper to his squad in order to compete with Jones this season.

The Rovers boss has sought to secure a deal which would not see large financial penalties if he opted to play Jones ahead of a loanee on a regular basis.

Trialist Barnes spent last season on loan at Hibernian and Burton Albion. Despite having not yet made a senior appearance for QPR since joining them in 2019, he saw an option taken up in his contract for an extra year this summer.

Wellens reiterated he will only be signing a keeper on loan at this stage.

“We can go now and get an experienced goalkeeper that will cost us between £1,000 and £1,500 a week but we haven’t got that for a goalkeeper,” he said.

“We’ll be getting a loan keeper who is on £10,000 a week who is on as little money as possible, or free.

“We’d love to have a permanent goalkeeper who we can develop and work with Louis. But that’s an ideal world and we’re not in an ideal world at the moment.”


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.