John Buckley: Doncaster Rovers’ top six hopes depend on window of uncertainty

Herbie Kane
Herbie Kane

This could be an interesting transfer window coming up – and a pivotal one with respect to Doncaster Rovers’ promotion ambitions.

A couple of new additions would be great, chiefly someone who can take the goalscoring burden off John Marquis and a bit of defensive cover.

But Rovers’ top six ambitions could depend on keeping hold of one or two key players.

And they are also relying on keeping some other important players fit for the rest of the season.

The January window gives Grant McCann his first real opportunity to start shaping the squad how he wants it. Last summer was more about assessing what he had and freshening things up slightly.

When he brought in Herbie Kane on loan from Liverpool, a young lad untested in the EFL, no one really knew what to expect.

Now it is no exaggeration to say that Rovers’ push for the play-offs could hinge on whether the 20-year-old remains at the Keepmoat Stadium beyond the terms of his initial loan.

The lad has been an absolute pleasure to watch and you can see him growing in confidence almost game by game.

He’s now added goals to his game and he looks destined for a bright future in the game.

Fingers crossed his immediate future will be at Rovers – but when you bring in lads on loan you always run the risk of losing them.

One potential saving grace, if Kane was to go back to Liverpool or go somewhere else, is the return to fitness of captain Tommy Rowe.

Like Kane, Rowe adds plenty of cut and thrust in the middle of the park and it’s vital for Rovers that he remains fit for the rest of the season and hits top form.

In terms of possible outgoings another one to keep an eye on is John Marquis.

John hasn’t looked very happy during – or after – the last few games at the Keepmoat Stadium and it makes you wonder about his future.

His excellent goalscoring record is bound to attract attention and Rovers will be braced for further bids when the window re-opens.

If they were going to sell him, they would have to make sure they had a suitable replacement lined up and ready to go.

As I say, Rovers will also need a but of luck with injuries if they are climb into the top six.

Tom Anderson has grown in confidence during the last few games.

But I really like the centre back partnership between Andy Butler and Joe Wright, and I personally hope those two can be reunited in the new year.

I also like what Danny Andrew brings to the team at left back and I think we would struggle to replace those qualities were he to pick up an injury.

You saw what effect his absence had on things last season.