McCann or McCan’t? Peter Catt runs the rule over Doncaster Rovers’ promotion push 

Grant McCann
Grant McCann

It’s far too early to judge Rovers and new boss Grant McCann with only a third of the season gone.

But we’ve seen enough so far to know that we are in for a swashbuckling, rollercoaster ride for the rest of the campaign.

True to his word when appointed McCann has placed the emphasis firmly on attack.

The importance of positivity and exceptional workrate has also figured prominently on the McCann agenda.

Entertainment value has been high but whether Rovers’ adventurous, hardworking approach will be rewarded with success in the shape of a top six place at the end of the season remains to be seen.

Most fans were delighted and instantly won over by the new regime but doubts remain among those yet to be convinced by the power of positive thinking.

The critics will point to Rovers’ goals against record, and runs of victories followed by games with few points gained.

McCann’s men are on one of the latter sequences at present with four defeats and just one win in the last six league games.

But it was during that solitary, hard fought 3-2 victory at Rochdale that I noticed something I have seldom seen from a Rovers team since the Billy Bremner days at Belle Vue 30 years ago.

Bremner fostered a camaraderie among his players that went beyond the pitch and I recall travelling to away games on the team coach in the promotion years seeing a squad of men bursting with belief that they were not going to be beaten.    

Of course Rovers have played with tremendous confidence many times, and enjoyed spectacular success, since then.

But Bremner instilled something special in his team and there were signs at Spotland that McCann is trying to do the same, with the ‘all for one, and one for all’ attitude epitomised by Ian Lawlor who was up and down like a yo-yo in the dugout urging his teammates on.

McCann’s doubters also point to the fact that Peterborough had an almost identical record to Rovers after the first 16 games when the Irishman was in charge at the Posh last season – and that did not end well for manager or club.

Do the shock and awe tactics of McCann’s all out attacking approach become less effective as the season progresses, with opposing managers finding ways to combat them?

Will the players eventually become drained, despite their extraordinary fitness levels, by the high intensity demanded by the system they play?

Will confidence start to wane if there is a sustained run of bad results?

Or will the squad stay strong and reflect the iron will of the boy from Belfast in charge of them?

With 30 league games left to play it’s going to be fun finding out.

McCann has previously been accused of being dogmatic in his approach but he has already shown a willingness to adapt, be flexible and switch to Plan B when necessary.

Far from being rigid in his views I’ve a feeling he has more tricks up his sleeve to surprise us with in his drive to bring success to the club.   

And, if that’s the case, then Rovers may not be too far away when the honours are handed out at the end of the campaign.