Doncaster Rovers: Grant McCann on tough task of new signings to break into team

Aaron Lewis
Aaron Lewis

Grant McCann says his new signings at Doncaster Rovers are fully aware of the size of the task facing them to break into his on-form side.

Confidence is high among the Rovers camp following their recent run of form which culminated in Sunday’s superb 3-1 win at Preston North End in the FA Cup.

New additions Kieran Sadlier and Aaron Lewis were among the substitutes while Tyler Smith will finally be eligible to feature when Rovers visit Wycombe Wanderers this weekend.

With the likes of James Coppinger and captain Tommy Rowe having to make do with substitute appearances in recent weeks, McCann says competition for places is fierce – and all his players know it.

“It’s a tough team to get into at the minute but we have a lot of players champing at the bit,” he said.

“The lads know they have to fight to get into the team.

“The team is playing well. Copps can’t get in at the minute.

“But he came on against Preston and was outstanding. He set up the goal for Mallik Wilks after we changed the formation a little bit.”

Both Sadlier and Smith are competing for a place in the front three while Lewis will look for game time at right back with Matty Blair impressing recently in deputising for Niall Mason, who is poised to return from injury.

Though McCann kept faith with the same starting XI from the 5-0 demolition of Rochdale for Sunday’s FA Cup clash, he insists the team does not just pick itself currently.

And he praised those that started for delivering performances which more than justified their selection – particularly his front three.

“It's never easy,” he said.

“We pick a team that we think can hurt the opposition, always.

“That was the reason behind Sunday’s team.

“We felt the pace of May and Wilks in deeper positions, breaking from there, could hurt them. We showed on numerous occasions we did that.

“I felt John Marquis was phenomenal, some of his hold up play, bringing others into play, his goal at the back post.

“His workrate sets the tone for the team and he settled early today.”