Evolution not revolution at relegated Doncaster Rovers as boss Gary McSheffrey preaches positivity

Gary McSheffrey’s rebuild will be a case of evolution rather than revolution but the Doncaster Rovers boss insists there is cause for optimism ahead of next season.

By Paul Goodwin
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Sunday, 1st May 2022, 11:00 am

Relegated Rovers brought the curtain down on one of the worst seasons in their history with a 1-1 draw at Oxford United on Saturday.

However, McSheffrey has been encouraged by the way his team finished the campaign – which also included wins against Crewe Alexandra and Burton Albion and a spirited comeback draw at Shrewsbury Town.

With 15 players still under contract for next season, there will be no repeat of last summer’s big influx of players.

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Jo Dodoo is one of 15 players still under contract at Rovers for next season.

But, despite this season’s struggles, McSheffrey is adamant he has a group of players who can prosper in League Two.

“We’ve got players in that changing room that don’t want the season to end,” he said.

"Some of them are just getting really up to speed. We’ve had injured players coming back and getting match fit now.

"The likes of Adam Clayton getting games and feeling match fit now. Josh Martin looking a threat and feeling fit having not played much during the first half of the season.

"They’ve enjoyed their football so amongst all the disappointment of getting relegated they’ve actually performed well for six or seven games now and showed we’ve got the capbility to be a good team.”

Asked by BBC Radio Sheffield if he wished he could have brought players in who could have hit the ground running, he added: "Obviously you like them to come and make an impact but they probably wouldn’t have been available if they were already performing.

"So it’s swings and roundabouts really.

"I feel the ones that have come in have added quality. I think there was some good recruitment done in January.

"We have to build on that now. We’ve got a core group and we’ve got good numbers for next season.

"We just have to sprinkle two or three, maybe four, good players around them to replace a few of our good loans that we’ll lose as well.

"I think we can just continue what we’ve been doing for the last six weeks.”

Rovers caused eighth-placed Oxford some problems but fell behind to a sloppy goal by Billy Bodin.

Josh Martin earned the visitors a deserved point with a fine strike from distance midway through the second half.

"We’ve found a bit of momentum in terms of performance level and have to be happy with how they’ve played again,” said McSheffrey.

"At times we tried to overplay in certain areas.

"The decision-making could have been a little bit better on three or four occasions but bar that I think it was another really good performance.”