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Doncaster Rovers: New boys give glimpse of their potential

Mallik Wilks
Mallik Wilks

Grant McCann says Rovers new boys Mallik Wilks and Ali Crawford offered a taste of what supporters can expect from them this season in their public debuts on Tuesday night.

Wilks and Crawford made their first appearances in Rovers colours in Tuesday’s friendly defeat to Grimsby Town.

And McCann was pleased with their bows but expects them to show much more in the coming weeks as they settle into life at the Keepmoat.

“I thought Ali Crawford for his first game really in a Doncaster shirt was outstanding,” he said.

“That is exactly why we brought him to the club - for his energy, his appetite.

“It was a performance that deserved a goal really.

“I was really pleased with him and the rest of the group in the second half.

“Mallik is going to bring us something different.

“He was probably a little bit quiet in the first half on Tuesday. I didn’t see much of him, just with the way the game was going.

“But in the second half he was very good.

“You can see when he opens his legs how quick he is. He probably should have had a penalty and he had a couple of good chances where the ball was stuck under his feet.

“A player like him is going to suit a nice smooth surface – at the Keepmoat hopefully.

“Hopefully it will get him a few goals.”

Both Crawford and Wilks had chances to score at Blundell Park.

Former Hamilton midfielder Crawford was closed down by the Grimsby keeper after latching onto a superb through ball from John Marquis and went agonisingly close with a free kick from the edge of the box.

And Wilks embarked on a surging run from just inside the hosts’ half when ended with his close range shot being blocked on the line.

McCann says that opportunity in particular shows what the on loan Leeds United striker can bring to Rovers.

He said: “He’s strong, he’s quick, he isolates people.

“There’s still work with him on his movement and where we want him to run, taking positions off Beestin, Marquis, or May or Kiwomya or whoever plays up there.

“I was really pleased with him and the group at Grimsby, definitely in the second half.”

Both Crawford and Wilks are expected to play in Friday night’s friendly with Sheffield United at the Keepmoat, which kicks off at 7.45pm.