Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey reveals automatic promotion aim ahead of Bradford City trip

“We were gutted we couldn’t stay up last season despite having a good go in the end but we have to take that on the chin, swallow our medicine and react in the right way, which is with promotion this season."

Thursday, 28th July 2022, 10:40 am

That was Gary McSheffrey, speaking after signing a one-year contract ahead of the 2016/17 season. But you could be mistaken for thinking it was last week.

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Rovers fans will remember that campaign as a successful one which saw the club promoted back to the third tier at the first time of asking.

Doncaster Rovers manager Gary McSheffrey watches his side in action during pre-season. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD.

And there’s a growing sense of optimism the similarities between then and now won’t just end with words spoken.

"We feel we’re going to be capable to finish in the best three teams in this division,” McSheffrey told The Free Press as a recently as...last week.

"That has to be the aim and we look forward to the challenge of that.”

Eight new arrivals and an unbeaten pre-season have helped build excitement ahead of Saturday’s curtain-raiser away to Bradford City, who are also expected to challenge for promotion under former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes.

McSheffrey, now in charge of first-team affairs at Rovers and preparing for his first full season in charge, achieved an impressive six promotions as a player.

So what does it take?

“I think some of the big-spending clubs would like some of the players we’ve got in our team; some of the leadership qualities, rawness, game intelligence.

"It’s confidence really. You just need a good environment, to be well-drilled, and I think we are.

"Steve (Eyre, assistant manager) has had a massive input.”