Paul Goodwin’s Doncaster Rovers columnn: There is potential in this team but that’s all it is at the moment - potential

The John Marquis and Alex Kiwomya partnership looks very promising.
The John Marquis and Alex Kiwomya partnership looks very promising.

There is potential in this Doncaster Rovers team but at the moment that is all it is - potential.

If anything, the painful defeat at Rotherham rather neatly summed up where Rovers find themselves right now.

They can go toe-to-toe with anyone in this division and give a decent account of themselves.

On their day they can play some good stuff or grind out a win.

But they are just lacking that consistently ruthless edge that would turn them from a mid-table team into one with genuine top six hopes.

And there will come a time, not too far away, when this side will have to turn it up a notch.

Saturday’s result was galling but there were positives in the performance. The way Rovers executed their gameplan, for 90 minutes at least, was encouraging. For the large part they stopped a very good side playing the way they wanted to play.

Indeed, the way Darren Ferguson’s side have become more combative as the season has gone on can be viewed as a sign of progress. Earlier in the campaign they were too much of a soft touch at times.

The back-to-basics defending evident in the last two games has been strangely satisfying to watch.

Luke McCullough has really looked the part following his return, Alfie Beestin just oozes quality and the John Marquis/Alex Kiwomya partnership has yielded two goals in two starts.

The potential is clearly there.

It might get lost, particularly among Ferguson’s most vocal detractors, by the recurring themes that seem to be costing Rovers goals and points, showcased in all their glory at the New York Stadium.

The number of times this team has conceded goals either from set pieces, in stoppage time, or after James Coppinger has gone off is now beyond a joke.

Those are the issues holding this team back. If they are not addressed Rovers can forget about reaching the Championship by 2032 let alone 2022.

This young team, though, has got a performance in its locker. But it also has plenty to learn and will need reinforcing in certain areas to unlock that potential on a more regular basis.

Mid-table is fine for this season but not next. The expectation next season will be for a top six push and ‘potential’ will only go some way to achieving that.