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Liam Hoden: Doncaster Rovers’ new manager will have solid base from which to build

Rovers' squad contains a blend of youth and experience.
Rovers' squad contains a blend of youth and experience.

The new manager of Doncaster Rovers will find himself in an increasingly rare position once he is appointed.

Few new bosses come into clubs with a stable playing squad, one that had a solid base from which to build.

That is what will welcome Darren Ferguson’s replacement when he finally touches down at Cantley Park.

Ferguson this summer was set to make a series of small improvements to his squad in order to facilitate a push towards the top end of League One.

There is no major renovation work to be done.

Ferguson had spent his two and a half year tenure before his resignation building a squad, putting them on an upward curve.

He has also significantly lowered the average age in an attempt to get more energy into the team.

While Rovers did not hit real heights last season, they were solid enough and there were enough positive signs to suggest that if the minor tweaks were made then they would be capable of challenging.

In short, the foundations are in place - and barring any major cultural shift from one boss to another, it should present a pleasing situation for the new boss to arrive into.

He will have two good goalkeepers to choose between. Marko Marosi’s form towards the end of the season saw him justifiably keep out of the side Ian Lawlor, who has shown himself to be one of the third tier’s best keepers.

Defensively, at centre half at least, Rovers look strong - though there is certainly a case to be put forward that they could do with one more addition.

Andy Butler and Joe Wright delivered an excellent partnership last season. Butler’s form was superb while Wright showed a rapid development and fine consistency.

The addition of Tom Anderson on a permanent deal is another real positive. No frills but eminently reliable, Anderson was just what Rovers needed when he arrived on loan. His no-nonsense style was something of a throwback to the days of Rob Jones and Jamie McCombe.

Choosing between the three will not be easy - and that is before contemplating adding further cover. The benefits of having four fit centre backs to choose from were evident during the run-in.

The full/wing back positions were arguably the biggest issue last season.

Niall Mason did a superb job as Rovers’ true utility player, operating on both flanks throughout the season.

One can only hope that Danny Andrew stays fit and shows the kind of form he did before suffering his horrendous injury - a blow which had the knock-on effect of Tommy Rowe occasionally being used as an emergency left back.

Rowe and Matty Blair are not natural full backs and it will be interesting to see where those two feature under the new boss.

The midfield core is also in place, in Rowe, James Coppinger, Ben Whiteman and Luke McCullough - although Rovers are clearly short of cover in that area.

While in attack the new boss must find another striker to take the burden off John Marquis, someone mobile enough to press but who can also look after themselves physically.

But in Alex Kiwomya, Alfie Beestin, Alfie May and Liam Mandeville he also has four very different forwards who are capable of scoring goals at this level.

The depth of the squad might be an issue, but the new man definitely has a solid base from which to build.