Doncaster Rovers: Plenty in reserve?

Off the production line: James Husband in action at Scunthorpe.               Picture: STEVE TAYLOR
Off the production line: James Husband in action at Scunthorpe. Picture: STEVE TAYLOR

ROVERS are yet to apply to join a reserve team league for the 2013/14 season, despite boss Brian Flynn’s plans to bring back the club’s second string.

Flynn was a guest on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday show at the weekend and told viewers that a reserve team was a must if Doncaster Rovers want to move forward as a club.

The former Wales Under- 21 boss has a passion for developing young players and sees bridging the current gap between the first team and youth team as paramount to Doncaster’s progress.

However, despite Flynn’s enthusiasm for Rovers’ reserve team to return, the Star has learned that the club is yet to apply for next season’s Central League or Professional Development League (PDL).

And Flynn might still face a difficult task persuading the club’s co-owners to bankroll a squad capable of meeting the demands of regular reserve team football.

Doncaster resigned from the Central League, which is now an under-21 league for mainly League One and League Two clubs, in 2007.

They could also apply to join the PDL which was launched this season in line with the game’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), although entry would be dependent on the grading of the club’s academy.

Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley currently run teams in the PDL, while Hull City and Rotherham feature in the Central League.

This developing story has shades of deja vu for Doncaster fans.

When Dean Saunders arrived at Doncaster he very quickly made public his desire to re-launch the club’s reserve team and build the club from the bottom up, before relegation from the Championship forced him to shelve those plans.

Likewise Flynn, since taking over from Saunders, has also spoken about a “big plan” that would lay the foundations for Rovers to progress as a club - and has now confirmed that he hopes to field a competitive reserve team from next season onwards.

Such a team would be an obvious platform for youngsters like Liam Wakefield, Jon Maxted and Paddy Mullen, who have been left kicking their heels on the sidelines for the majority of the season.