Andy Williams interview: ‘I love it in Doncaster and I didn’t want to move if I could help it’

Andy Williams opened his account for the season with a fine goal against Grimsby Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Andy Williams opened his account for the season with a fine goal against Grimsby Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Staying at Doncaster Rovers was only half the battle for Andy Williams - now he is fighting to get back in the team.

But if he approaches that challenge with the same determination he did getting off the transfer list, then his chance will come soon enough.

The striker was told to find a new employer at the end of last season, presenting him with the likelihood of having to depart a club, and possibly town, where he was settled.

Within a week of returning for pre-season training however he was off the list with Darren Ferguson sufficiently impressed to decide there were no better and affordable options on the market.

But that did not mean he would necessarily be starting matches. With Liam Mandeville and Alfie May showing impressive pre-season form - coupled with an injury for Williams just before the start of the campaign - the 31-year-old found himself down the pecking order.

So far, Williams has started just one of Rovers’ eight matches - last week’s Checkatrade Trophy game with Grimsby, when he scored his first goal of the season and a cracking one at that.

And he admits sitting on the bench is taking some getting used to.

“This is probably the first time in my career where I’ve not started a league game five games in,” he told the Free Press. “It’s something I’m not used to.

“I went a couple of games without even coming on as a sub.

“It’s frustrating but I probably shot myself in the foot a little bit by getting injured right at the end of pre-season.

“I’ll be patient and keep working hard though.

“I’ve already proven to the gaffer how hard I’ll work by managing to get myself off the transfer list.

“Now I’ve got to force my way into the team.

“Obviously that’s not going to be easy. John Marquis has earned his right with the goals he scored last season and he’s already got a couple.

“There’s a lot of competition up there but the good thing is we get on really well so it’s nice competition.

“It’s not like anyone is an idiot about it.

“It’s good to help each other along and if you get the chance you have to take it.

“Every time I get an opportunity I’ve got to take it and score as many goals as I can.

“Hopefully if I get a chance at the weekend either off the bench or starting I can take those and get a few league goals.”

Speaking to Williams over the two years he has been at the club, it is clear to see how driven an individual he is.

Rarely does he slip into jokes during interviews. In the main he is dead serious, although after an impressive scoring performance against Grimsby, he was much more relaxed than usual.

The security of another year where both he and his family is comfortable is perhaps another reason why he is in the mood to smile.

And with his family growing this summer, news he was staying came at the ideal time.

“I’ve just had my second child so it’s probably good timing that I’ve not been on the pitch a lot after a few sleepless nights,” he said.

“I was settled here. I didn’t want to move house. I love it in Doncaster and I didn’t want to move if I could help it.

“My wife is settled too and we wanted to have our second child in the hospital so it wouldn’t have been a good time to move.

“At the end of the day nothing came up which suited me as much as Doncaster. I wanted to play League One football.”

Williams admitted it was a shock when he was called into Ferguson’s office and told he would taken off the transfer list. But it was certainly a welcome shock.

He said: “I think the day he pulled me into the office and said he was taking me off the transfer list was the best news I could have had.

“Other clubs were getting serious and it got to the stage I think where he had to make a decision whether he wanted me or not.

“He assessed the situation and what was available, saw how sharp I came back and thought actually I’d like to think he thought there was no one better than me out there so he’s decided to keep me. It was a nice feeling.

“It was what I wanted all along.

“I didn’t want to be an idiot about it. He said he wanted me to leave so I listened to other people and spoke to people.

“Some really good teams were in touch and my phone was ringing all summer. It was quite nice and a positive boost that I’m still wanted.

“Deep down, unless someone was going to blow my socks off then I wouldn’t be leaving.

“It’s safe to say me and my wife were really happy with the decision that I was able to stay.”