Doncaster Rovers fans will love Grant McCann’s ambitious pledge for next season

Grant McCann wants to atone for his ‘failed’ first spell managing Doncaster Rovers by aiming to win League Two next season.
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McCann led Rovers to the League One play-offs during the 2018/19 campaign following their highest-placed finish since they were relegated from the Championship in 2014.

They missed out on a spot in the play-off final after an agonizing penalty shout-out defeat to Charlton, who were eventually promoted.

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Despite what many would consider an overachievement, McCann revealed he still views his sole campaign in charge as a disappointment.

Doncaster manager Grant McCann.Doncaster manager Grant McCann.
Doncaster manager Grant McCann.

He believes the same sense of failure will apply should he not return Doncaster to the third tier in his second spell as boss.

The former Hull and Peterborough chief said: “I have got high standards. I want my players to think like that, I want the football club to think like that.”

McCann is the same age as his predecessor Danny Schofield but has managed over 300 games more, underlining the change in direction the club’s hierarchy is seeking with an experienced appointment.

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He has also been appointed as manager, rather than head coach, reflecting the greater level of control and oversight he will enjoy on football matters.

The Northern Irishman was well out of Rovers’ reach when they appointed Schofield in October, with his Peterborough side then in the League One play-offs.

But a poor run of form saw him lose his job at the Weston Homes Stadium for a second time in January.

McCann said: “I feel like I have failed in the two jobs at Peterborough, I have lost my job twice,

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"Even though the team was seventh or eighth in the division, it hasn’t been right for that football club.

"So I feel as though I have let myself down, let people down, the fans down and the owners.”

McCann won his first promotion in management at Hull, a year after the club was relegated from the Championship under his watch.

They had been just one point off the play-offs in January 2020 after beating Sheffield Wednesday, but the departure of key pair Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki on transfer deadline day that month coincided with a nose dive in form which saw them win just once in their final 20 matches.

“We started the season unbelievably well,” recalled McCann.

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"I knew it was massive losing the two players we lost, but I didn’t realise it was going to be as big in terms of the overall picture and how the players felt when those two went.

"You learn from it and we won the league the next year.”

All those experiences have surely helped McCann to become a better boss, which should serve Doncaster well in what looks to be a competitive division next term.

He said: “This is a really good opportunity.

"The reason why I came back here is because it’s a chance to build. It’s a chance to have a good push, aim for the title.

“There’s no two ways about it, we will be aiming for the title. If we don’t quite get there then hopefully we will land in the top three.

"If we don’t quite get there maybe we will land in the top seven, that’s the bare minimum for us.”

Rovers begin the new season on Saturday, 5 August.