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Andy Butler: League One ‘will be wide open this year’

Andy Butler
Andy Butler

League One has never been so wide open.

That is the verdict of Doncaster Rovers club captain Andy Butler.

And the 34-year-old centre back hopes that could play into Rovers’ hands.

Relegated Sunderland are the bookmakers’ title favourites but Jack Ross faces a huge rebuilding job at the Stadium of Light.

Barnsley, Charlton and Portsmouth are tipped to go well, Bradford City, Oxford United, Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion are among the dark horses, while newly-promoted Luton Town and Coventry City look to set to ramp up the competitiveness of the division.

“It’s a tough league but I think teams will look at us and think they’re in for a tough game,” said Butler.

“I think the league will be wide open this year.

“I don’t think there are any real favourites.

“Obviously you’ve got Sunderland who’ve got a massive budget but it’s going to be wide open for me.

“It’s probably one of the most open League Ones that you could probably get.

“I want to be up there as well.”

New boss Grant McCann is adamant Rovers can aim high and Butler is thinking positive ahead of the new campaign.

“The aim has to be finish as high as possible,” he said.

“Everyone wants to win the league so why not win the league?

“It might sound daft but that’s what you’ve got to aim for. You don’t want to aim for mid-table.

“You aim for as high as you can get so your ambition is to win the league, have a good cup run and win the Checkatrade Trophy.

“You’ve got to set your targets as high as you possibly can.

“If you’re happy with fifth bottom then you’ll probably finish fifth bottom.”

Butler expects Rovers to gradually improve the more they become accustomed to McCann’s methods and preferred style - and he has pinpointed the extra pace in the team as a reason to be optimistic.

He said: “It does take a little bit of time. We’ve had four weeks of learning and how he wants us to play and what he wants us to do.

“As a whole the squad’s now buying into it and buying into the kind of player that he actually was and how he wants us to play.

“You’ll see us improve and improve as time goes on, because the games will come thick and fast.

“If you’re not ready then you start to get a bit of pressure on you.

“But as a group we’re really confident.

“It’s always difficult when a new manager comes in with different ideas and different ways of playing so we have to adapt to what the gaffer wants and it does take a bit of time.

“But I think you’ll see the players now coming to terms with what he wants.

“We’ll be ready.

“We’ve got players in this team who have played in all sorts of different systems.

“We’re a really adaptable team.

“Last year we were a strong side, we just didn’t score enough goals.

“The gaffer’s made us more attacking and hopefully we’ll score more goals this year.

“We’ve also got a lot of pace up front so that can be a real positive for us because pace is a massive threat in this league.”