Bucky’s Blog: Coaching role with Rovers U16s is right up my street

John Buckley
John Buckley

I’m absolutely loving my new role as joint coach of Doncaster Rovers’ under 16s.

And let me tell you first hand - there’s some good lads coming through the system.

I enjoyed it at the back end of last season when I worked alongside Terry Curran, who looks after the under 13s.

Terry’s brilliant at picking good players out.

And I’m enjoying it just as much this season with Don McKinna.

It’s a good role. I love working for Doncaster Rovers and it’s nice to have some involvement with lads who have the potential to move up and become scholars at the club.

In a way I wish I’d gone down this route, working with youngsters, a lot sooner.

I’m enjoying this and it’s a great feeling when you see the young lads improving.

The ultimate aim is, in four or five years time, to see two or three of them turn professional.

The whole coaching environment is not that different from when I was a kid, but it’s a lot more intense these days.

The lads know they’re being watched every single minute they’re either playing or training. They all have certain objectives to meet.

And it’s not just about what they do on the pitch either. It’s about their character as well.

For instance, when they’re injured the club is looking to see if they still come along and support their teammates.

There’s a style of play running through the club too.

What we’re trying to do is to get the kids to play out and play through the thirds.

What we do at half time and after games is analyse whether the lads are meeting their objectives that we’re setting for them.

We’re trying to teach them about the game, as well as how to play it, so they have an understanding.

The club certainly seems like its on a good footing when it comes to developing youth.

I know there’s lots of work going on to try and get Category Two academy status - and that would make a big difference.

I’ve seen the youth team play this season and saw some very good signs.

The boy Liam Mandeville certainly looks like a good prospect, and he’s not the only one.

We want good players here who are solid, can do their job and have the right attitude.

I’ve always got my eye on players who’ve got that something a little bit different too. I like to see that. That’s just the way I am.

First-team wise I saw Fleetwood play Rotherham in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season and thought they were a good team.

I played with their manager Graham Alexander at Scunthorpe and he’s done a good job there.

But on the back of two wins we should be going there with plenty of confidence.

I still think we can get into the play-offs.

I’m slightly concerned about us at the back and we’d be a lot stronger if we had Rob Jones back.

But if we keep things tight, we have the attacking quality to hurt both Fleewtood on Saturday and Leyton Orient on Tuesday.