Doncaster Rovers: There was no rift with Richie, Ferguson insists ahead of Wellens return

Richie Wellens
Richie Wellens

Rovers legend Richie Wellens will make his return to the Keepmoat on Saturday and Darren Ferguson insists he has nothing but respect for the Oldham Athletic boss.

Wellens’ second spell in Doncaster came to an end shortly after Ferguson’s appointment as Rovers boss in October 2015 and there was speculation at the time that the two had clashed.

But Ferguson says it made sense for the midfielder to find a new club at that stage of his career and they parted on good terms, first with a loan move to Oldham and then a permanent switch to Shrewsbury Town in January 2016.

“It was totally fine,” Ferguson said of Wellens’ departure.

“We had a lot of respect for one another as player to manager and visa versa.

“I think the way I wanted to play would have really suited Richie but it came to the point where he wanted to play every week.

“At that stage he was starting and then out.

“The travelling and everything else, it suited him to be closer to home.

“His son trains with [Manchester] United so he had that to contend with.

“It was easy.

“I helped him get the move to Oldham and he was thankful for that.

“I’ve seen him and spoken to him since.

“There’s no problem. He understood the situation and it was probably the right move for him at the right time.

“Now he’s coming back to a club he knows very well and did great at.”

Wellens returns to the Keepmoat for the first time as a manager on Saturday.

And Ferguson expects a player who made 199 appearances across two spells to get a good reception from Rovers supporters.

The Rovers boss says he is not surprised Wellens has Oldham playing an attractive brand of football.

“He’s done very well in the short time he’s been in charge,” Ferguson said.

“His team is playing well. They’ve got good footballer and are a good footballing team.

“I think if you look at how he played during his career, it’s no surprised how his team plays.

“They like to go through the thirds, get up the pitch with very good skillful players.

“They’ve got Eoin Doyle, who is one of the best strikers in the league. He scores goals consistently at this level.

“I’m sure it’ll be a good game.

“I believe if we can continue the performances, especially at home in the last game and a half, then we would expect to hopefully get the right result.”