Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Ferguson gets straight down to team formation work as squad returns in great shape

Ben Whiteman: one of three new signings
Ben Whiteman: one of three new signings

Darren Ferguson has forged something of a reputation as a tactical tinkerman.

Keen to employ different formations, both from the start of games and throughout them, the Doncaster Rovers boss views flexibility in team shape as a vital piece of weaponry when it comes to outwitting the opposition.

And it has not taken long for the Scot to re-impose that mindset on his squad following their return to pre-season training last Monday.

By Wednesday the players - including new signings Danny Andrew, Ben Whiteman and Alex Kiwomya - were doing eleven against eleven tactical drills at Cantley Park.

And those sessions will only intensify now as Rovers step up their preparations for their return to League One.

“It’’s something we always do,” Ferguson told The Star. “The lads came back in great shape.

“The [test] results were very good - way ahead of last season. So that’s good, and it helps you get on to the more technical and tactical stuff quicker.

“On Wednesday we did 30 minutes eleven versus eleven and different systems.

“Thursday and Friday were more technical days, and then on Saturday we upped it again and did 60 minutes eleven versus eleven.

“This week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday will be pretty tough and then we’ll leave for Scotland on Thursday.”

Ferguson’s flexible approach made an impression on new boy Kiwomya, signed from Chelsea, when he played against Rovers last season on loan at Crewe.

“Seeing the way the team played last season against us when I was at Crewe was wicked,” he said.

“He [Ferguson] played so many different formations and he showed me that in the meeting we had. It’s really good.

“He said he put a lot of time into being able to change on the pitch at any time. That’s very good.”

Rovers depart for their training base at St Andrews on Thursday, where they will face Aberdeen in an informal practice match on Sunday.

They face Armthorpe Welfare in the community friendly curtain-raiser next Tuesday.