Doncaster Rovers: Why Gary McSheffrey doesn't want U23s to be the inbetweeners

Gary McSheffrey wants Doncaster Rovers' development squad to shake off their 'inbetweeners' status and show themselves to be ready for the rigours of senior football.

Sunday, 6th October 2019, 12:00 pm
Gary McSheffrey

McSheffrey has been handed the reins for the U23 group after John Schofield took a more active role in Darren Moore's senior coaching set up.

And he has quickly been tasked with overseeing a change in approach with the development group that will see them worked much harder in a bid to strengthen the squad.

"We're structuring the working week for them," McSheffrey told the Free Press/

"Up to now they've felt like an inbetween group.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"The manager has come in and his obvious priority is to rebuild the first team squad, get them playing how he wants to play.

"The U18s system is like clockwork. Stan [Paul Stancliffe] has been doing that for years and we invest a lot of time into them.

"The U23s probably felt a little bit like what about us, what are we doing next.

"That's where I'm adamant now that they'll get the time required and attention needed."That [U23 Premier League Cup] game against Portsmouth was a great start for a group that has been thrown together a little bit and not had the grass time required for the weekly work.

"We're really buying into it now and knuckling down and hopefully we'll see the rewards this season."

Rovers have this week extended the loans of Rieves Boocock and Branden Horton at Frickley Athletic and Gainsborough Trinity respectively while Cody Prior and Rian McLean have joined Sheffield FC.

Louis Jones and Max Watters are with Mickleover Sports while AJ Greaves has also joined Gainsborough.

McSheffrey says there is a determination not to send too many players out on loan but each situation will be taken on a case by case basis.

"There's lads that have gone out on loan to step five and I'll be honest with you that most of them want to be playing at a higher level," he said.

"But you just feel game time is right for their development.

"There are some that we feel with of the training and playing programme we're putting together now will benefit being at the club and being around the first team squad on the pitch next to them every day.

"It's getting the balance right with who we send out, not sending too many out because it leaves this squad short, even though we have got good U18s that can step up and mix with this squad.

"We want to make sure this group build a team spirit so whoever is out there on the pitch playing they play to the same philosophy and know their roles and responsibilities."