Liam Hoden: Paul Dickov has a point to prove - and a style dilemma - in League One

Paul Dickov
Paul Dickov

Paul Dickov has plenty of questions to answer over the summer.

Relegation will inevitably put a manager under intense scrutiny, especially with the expectation of an immediate bouncing back weighing heavy on his shoulders.

With the manner in which this season’s events played out, Dickov now has a point to prove. The positive thing for Rovers is that he recognises that. Dickov constantly talks about the need to prove himself, a task he sees no end to.

But to prove his point at Rovers, there is plenty of work ahead, starting with what needs to be a strong summer’s work.

The big question facing him is what do Rovers need to be to make a strong fist of getting out of League One?

Dean Saunders drew up a clear blueprint of how to win promotion to the Championship. He built a team in that image and it worked to such an extent that when he left, the desire not to alter the approach was incredibly strong.

It seems highly unlikely Dickov will go down the same route as Saunders in the chase for promotion. He has strong principles for attractive, positive football. Saunders could hardly claim the same but what he delivered was effective.

For such principles to deliver success, a good recruitment programme this summer will be vital.

The teams that succeed in the third tier while sticking to attractive football more often than not need a 20+ goal striker to drive them forward. Rovers do not currently possess such a dynamo.

Chris Brown is a better and fitter player than the last League One campaign but his best work will arguably always take place outside the box. Theo Robinson is likely to have more success next term, but he has yet to show he could be an attacking driving force.

The potential for Harry Forrester and Mark Duffy to come into their own next term is tantalising but there is still plenty to be done.

Dickov is now likely to know the tools he will have available in his new building project next term.

The club’s most recent financial results detailed the year in League One and provided timely foreboding of what is to come over the next 12 months.

Rovers’ cloth is already tightly trimmed and looks set to be cut further, driven by the directors’ desire to run a profitable business.

League One looks set to be almost as level a playing field as it was the last time Rovers graced the third tier.

It is now up to Dickov, and the men above him, to ensure Rovers stand out from the crowd.