Doncaster Rovers reappoint ex-Hull City and Peterborough United boss Grant McCann as manager

Grant McCann has returned to Doncaster Rovers for a second spell in charge.
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McCann previously led Rovers to the League One play-offs during the 2018/19 season before leaving to take over at Hull City.

He replaces Danny Schofield, who was sacked on Tuesday following the club’s lowest finish since they returned to the Football League in 2003.

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Former Northern Ireland international McCann has been given the job title of manager, which represents a break with his two predecessors who were named head coach.

Grant McCann has returned to Doncaster Rovers for a second spell as manager. Photo: Heather King/DRFC.Grant McCann has returned to Doncaster Rovers for a second spell as manager. Photo: Heather King/DRFC.
Grant McCann has returned to Doncaster Rovers for a second spell as manager. Photo: Heather King/DRFC.

The length of his contract has not been disclosed. Both Gary McSheffrey and Schofield were handed one-year rolling deals.

McCann said: “Once I heard of the interest, it was a tremendous opportunity for myself.

“After the phone calls came, I had a chat with my wife and the first thing she said was it was one of the happiest times she’d seen me when I was at Doncaster. That really hit home with me.

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“I loved my time here, I enjoyed every minute and I’m looking forward to it.”

Doncaster chairman David Blunt added: “We are delighted to secure the return of Grant to the club.

“His previous season here was one of the most thrilling in recent memory, with a breathless brand of attacking, aggressive football that carried us into the brink of a play-off final.

“In his time away from the club, he has only developed as a manager and we know we are getting an even stronger version of Grant this time around.

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“This is a very exciting time for the club, with Grant’s return and Terry’s injection of additional funds, and we are looking forward to a competitive season ahead.”

McCann’s return to the club will see him work with Rovers’ head of football operations James Coppinger, who he managed as a player during the 2018/19 campaign.

McCann initially stripped Coppinger of the Doncaster captaincy following his appointment as boss with the Rovers veteran, then 37, told he wouldn't feature as much as he had done previously.

But he went on to play 51 games in a successful year for the club as they finished sixth and was rewarded with a contract extension at the end of the season.

McCann’s track record

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McCann won 26 of his 59 games in charge during his first spell at Doncaster, who just missed out on the play-off final after losing to Charlton on penalties.

Hull were relegated from the Championship under McCann but he took them straight back up the following year as they won the league.

He was sacked following a takeover in January 2022 despite the Tigers being 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

The following month he returned to Peterborough, where he began his management career in 2016.

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Posh finished 11th in League One during McCann’s first season in charge. He was dismissed in February 2018 with the club 10th in the table and on a seven-match winless run.

The 43-year-old returned to the Weston Homes Stadium in January 2022 as he replaced Darren Ferguson with Peterborough in the Championship relegation zone and five points from safety.

But he was unable to keep them up and left in January following a run of five defeats from seven league games, which left them three points outside of the play-offs.

Good times ahead?

Rovers reporter Steve Jones on McCann’s appointment and what it means

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Doncaster owner Terry Bramall has promised “a significant financial injection” into the playing budget for next season and says he wants to see the club “thrive” again.

His co-owner, Blunt, has made the board’s expectations crystal clear: “With the finances available, there should be no reason why the club cannot be challenging for promotion next season.”

McCann is a proven manager who might have landed a League One job had he bided his time.

Instead, he’s taken on his first management job in the fourth tier back at Doncaster – a move he surely wouldn’t have made without being happy about the expectations and resources available.

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It will be interesting to see how McCann works essentially underneath a former player of his in Coppinger but one thing is certain: Rovers will have no excuses for failure should they not achieve their overriding objective of promotion.