Liam Hoden: Continuity looks to have been key in Doncaster Rovers’ appointment of Grant McCann

Grant McCann
Grant McCann

The number one question that will be asked over the next few days is why Grant McCann?

Some will ask in genuine interest, others will ask with a sneer.

But there will be a good deal of curiosity surrounding the considerable decision made by the Doncaster Rovers hierarchy.

Putting it bluntly, McCann is not the obvious candidate.

He has had one job and been judged to have failed to meet expectations within that role.

The decision to sack him split the Posh fan base but, it has been said, no one was really baffled by the club pulling the trigger.

The expectations on McCann at Peterborough? To make a strong challenge for, and ultimately win, promotion from League One.

Sound familiar?

Was the expectation on a young, rookie manager too high? Debate will continue on that question.

But it certainly suggests an element of the gamble from Rovers in appointing the affable 38-year-old.

I spoke to a colleague in the media who had worked with McCann during his spell in charge at London Road.

And while he was answering questions on McCann’s style, approach and philosophy, it struck me why he had been the chosen one.

Consistency and continuity.

The man being described to me sounded a great deal like a certain Darren Ferguson.

This was, of course, a player coached and guided by Ferguson, his captain, his fulcrum in midfield. It came as no surprise to learn he shares a lot of the same characteristics as the man he would follow into management.

We must remember that Ferguson’s departure from the Keepmoat was not planned, not foreseen and certainly not desired by the Rovers board.

They had spent two-and-a-half years supporting his vision for the club and the restructuring and renovation work that came with that.

There may have ultimately been a fatal disagreement over the perceived speed of the project but Ferguson was the board’s man. They were happy with him and the course with which we was taking the club.

So it makes a good deal of sense that there would be a strong desire to not rock the boat, or tear up the plans, and potentially take a backward step to go forward.

McCann offers a good degree of consistency and should bring continuity.

He has worked with Kieran Scarff, the Academy chief who has overseen much of the restructuring of Rovers’ age group levels.

McCann favours the same type of football as Ferguson, playing out from the back. He even likes the diamond midfield.

So, while he may not have the record of managerial success of some of those who reached the later stages of Rovers’ hunt for a manager, he does offer something the board will have been keen on.

With a grand plan and a wider vision to be worked towards, that consistency will have been a major attraction.

As I write this, I am yet to meet the Belfast boy - who by all accounts is a very nice bloke.

He will be judged as he first meets the press, just as was judged before his appointment was officially confirmed.

But ultimately he will be judged on what happens on the pitch this season.

Pressure will be on McCann to deliver a strong first season. Few will afford him a comfortable settling in period.

And, with that, the Rovers hierarchy have taken a gamble.

But it seems to be an educated one, with faith places in a man that can slot in relatively seamlessly.

Let’s hope it works out as planned.