Doncaster Rovers: Oldham methods aim to help Spaniard De Val adapt

Marc De Val (left)
Marc De Val (left)

Paul Dickov is drawing on previous experience of managing Matt Smith during their time at Oldham Athletic to help Rovers man Marc De Val adapt to life in English football, writes Hayley Paterson.

Since arriving from Real Madrid last summer, the Spanish midfielder has featured sparingly for Doncaster - with just two starts after recovering from a serious knee injury he sustained in pre-season.

Having returned from his career-threatening injury, De Val has been limited to places on the substitute’s bench during Rovers’ Championship survival plight.

And former Oldham boss Dickov says he has been referring back to how he and his team dealt with Smith - now with Leeds United - after the striker made the move from Blue Square Bet North side Solihull Borough to Athletic in 2011.

“As staff, we want to treat Marc very similarly to how we did with Matt Smith at Oldham, we knew it was a big, big culture change from where he came from,” said Dickov.

“Is Marc De Val ready at the minute to get chucked in to the Championship? Who knows? We feel that we’re managing him the right way at the moment.

“We’ve got Richie Wellens, Paul Keegan and Dean Furman who have all done really well for us. Rather than force the issue, we would rather work with him [De Val] and benefit next season.”

Dickov went on: “I hear and read a lot of things about when and where Marc should be playing; I would like to think I’m the best judge of him because I’ve seen him play over three years.

“The people that are talking about this have only seen him in snippets.”

Speaking on the 24-year-old’s development since his Cantley Park arrival, Dickov added: “With Marc, he struggled initially with the fitness work that we gave him, it was something he wasn’t used to.

“He’d just caught up with that when he got his injury and he’s been playing catch up a lot this year.

“It’s my job – rightly or wrongly – to manage him and I think I’m doing it the right way.”