Doncaster Rovers: From Bentley to the Boro’ for Wakefield

Liam Wakefield. Picture: Andrew Roe
Liam Wakefield. Picture: Andrew Roe

From humble beginnings playing in a Bentley junior side, Saturday could mark a dream come true for Liam Wakefield as he prepares to potentially play in his first ever FA Cup match.

As a youngster, Wakefield was lining up for West End Bentley Webs with his fellow team-mates playing in a weekend league and taking on sides from all over Doncaster.

He later represented Barnby Dun Colts before joining the Rovers academy ranks as a teenager and later signed his first ever professional contract with the club in 2012.

Wakefield rubber-stamped his incredible rise up the ranks as the defender lined up against a QPR side bursting with Premier League experience from Yossi Benayoun to Joey Barton and Andy Johnson.

And the 19-year-old more than held his own with an oustanding performance in an injury-stricken Rovers backline.

Having featured in Doncaster’s last three matches following a substitute’s appearance in the Derby defeat before Christmas, Scawsby-born Wakefield admits he is enjoying every minute of first-team action.

And he’s more than happy to continue lining up for Paul Dickov’s XI - with an FA Cup debut firmly in his sights when Doncaster host Stevenage on Saturday.

“It would be my first ever FA Cup game. I am just hoping for a win,” he said.

“The cup is important and it’s a competition we want to do well in. But every game is important and we want to win, regardless of whether it’s in the cup or league.

“It is massive for me to play for my hometown club, it’s a dream come true.

“It is a team you want to play for when you’re growing up. I’m lucky to have that chance.”

He added: “When I was told I was getting my first start [against Ipswich], it was nerve-wracking but it was exciting at the same time.

“It is something I have been waiting for and I am glad the gaffer has given me the chance.

“Now I have got my chance, I am loving every minute of it.”

Theo Robinson put Doncaster ahead in their New Year’s Day clash with QPR, however, a second half strike from Matt Phillips levelled proceedings before Charlie Austin’s injury-time header secured a 2-1 victory for Harry Redknapp’s Championship title contenders.

Wakefield played in a backline comprising of fellow teenager Luke McCullough as well as Paul Quinn and loanee Enda Stevens - players he says he is learning a lot from.

“Quinny in particular is a terrific leader,” he said. “He has really helped my game, he’s brilliant to have alongside you.

“Even when we haven’t had the best of times, Quinny has always been there to help out.”

He went on: “We were gutted with the QPR result. We felt like we deserved to get something from the game.

“We were the better side and that showed when they [QPR] were booed off at half-time.

“We knew we had a big second half to come and I thought we deserved something more.”