Doncaster Rovers fan blog: A lack of direction in player recruitment has proven very costly

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

By Jack Manship
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 6:00 am
Gary McSheffrey and Frank Sinclair inherited an unbalanced squad in the view of Rovers fan Jack Manship. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD
Gary McSheffrey and Frank Sinclair inherited an unbalanced squad in the view of Rovers fan Jack Manship. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD

It’s easy now for Doncaster Rovers fans to sit and berate certain decisions the club has made over the course of the last 12 months or so.

But the root of Rovers’ failure this season stems from multiple issues – some which are undoubtedly down to club decisions, and some which are simply just uncontrollable.

The two key factors, for me, are poor player recruitment and the injury crisis which has blighted Rovers all season.

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Frankly, there’s already been enough talk about Wellens’ tenure; whether or not it was the right appointment in the first place (it wasn’t) and whether or not he was dismissed too late into the season (he was).

But he is not the only one responsible for Rovers spending the entire campaign in the drop zone.

Some fans have also been quick to jump on Gary McSheffrey’s back, blaming him for not carrying us to safety, but since his arrival there has been an upturn in results and lift in morale. Hope was provided.

I’d agree with the notion that Rovers’ issues began long before Wellens arrived but the pre-season for the 2021/22 campaign should’ve been the platform for the club to start fresh and push on.

But, in somewhat typical Rovers fashion, the club has gone backwards.

Player recruitment in the summer was disappointing to say the least. It reeked of a lack of direction and backbone and we were left with a decent squad that lacked any notable quality players.

Sure, some players that have joined the club this season have put in some good performances and showed some ability but overall the squad seems disjointed.

While replacing Ben Whiteman directly was always going to be next to impossible, the failure to sign a genuine defensive midfielder is a small yet crucial detail (and just one example) which has played a massive part in Rovers shipping so many goals and offering little going forward.

A failure to bring in a few more experienced players didn’t help either.

The reliance on loan players, which we, the Rovers fans, were assured wasn’t going to be the case again for this season, is indeed the case again.

This was down to the aforementioned lack of backbone in the transfer market as the club missed out on key targets too many times.

The January transfer window offered some hope with fresh faces coming in but it was always going to be impossible for a club in the drop zone to bring in high quality players who should be playing at the other end of the league.

Regardless of which league Rovers find themselves in next season, a fresh approach is required - one with direction and identity, one that offers the fans hope and something to be proud of.

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