Doncaster Rovers boss responds to criticism of summer recruitment

Richie Wellens has rejected the notion that his recruitment has been a factor in Doncaster Rovers’ poor start to the season.
Richie Wellens. Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.comRichie Wellens. Picture by Steve Flynn/
Richie Wellens. Picture by Steve Flynn/

Rovers underwent another major squad overhaul over the summer with 14 new players arriving at the Keepmoat Stadium.

It formed the first part of a rebuilding process that will take Wellens at least another two transfer windows to complete.

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The initial arrivals of Ben Close, Tommy Rowe, Ro-Shaun Williams, Kyle Knoyle and Jordy Hiwula appeared to win the approval of the majority of supporters at the time.

Dan Gardner, Aidan Barlow, Joe Dodoo and Joseph Olowu have since been added to the squad, while Pontus Dahlberg, Matt Smith, Ethan Galbraith, Tiago Cukur and Rodrigo Vilca have joined on loan.

Wellens has admitted that Rovers have missed the presence of a ball-winning defensive midfielder.

Rovers have taken just four points from their opening nine games and sit bottom of League One.

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They have been beset by injury problems but, particularly in the aftermath of Tuesday’s dismal 6-0 defeat at Ipswich Town, a section of supporters have also questioned Wellens’ recruitment.

Wellens was asked ahead of this weekend’s game against MK Dons whether the slow start was purely down to injuries or whether mistakes had been made with the recruitment for this season.

“You’re given a certain budget which you can spend,” he replied.

“So would I have liked to sign Charlie Wyke in the summer? Probably, yes. I would’ve signed Charlie Wyke. I didn’t have the money to sign Charlie Wyke.

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“That’s not important. The important aspect now is going forward. Can we get a team that fight?

“You [the media] mentioned quality earlier, quality is a very small part of football. If you’ve got the fighting spirit and the capabilities not to let things that happen in a game change your mentality then that will take you a longer way than just ability alone.”

Wellens refused to criticise his players’ effort and fight so far this season.

“Take away Ipswich, we’ve been in every single game,” he said. “And we’ve had a lot of under 23s out there playing for us.

“I think we have [seen enough fighting spirit], yes.”

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Wellens had the following players on the books when he arrived at the club: Louis Jones, Ben Bottomley, Tom Anderson, Charlie Seaman, Cameron John, Branden Horton, Andy Butler, Ben Blythe, John Bostock, Jon Taylor, AJ Greaves, Lirak Hasani, AJ Greaves, Liam Ravenhill, Ed Williams, Omar Bogle, Fejiri Okenabirhie.