Former Doncaster Rovers boss tells of ‘desire to prove people wrong’ after Peterborough United exit

Grant McCann has told of his desire to prove people wrong when he was handed the reins at Doncaster Rovers.
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McCann was chosen to replace Darren Ferguson in June 2018 after being sacked as Peterborough United boss in February of that year.

The Northern Irishman spent almost two years in charge of Posh and left with the club tenth in League One, having achieved an eleventh-placed finish in his first season.

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"I had a real fire in my belly," McCann – who is once again out of work after leaving Peterborough for a second time last month – told Coaches' Voice.

Grant McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne during his time in charge of Doncaster Rovers.Grant McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne during his time in charge of Doncaster Rovers.
Grant McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne during his time in charge of Doncaster Rovers.

"I felt that I wasn’t given enough time at Peterborough, and I could have achieved what was wanted of me had I been allowed to stay until the end of the season.

"I believe I could have got them into the top six and into the play-offs.

"Doncaster felt like an opportunity to prove those people wrong. This was another League One side, but with an even smaller budget."

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Peterborough were six points off the play-off places when McCann was dismissed for the first time but had gone seven games without a win.

His spell at Doncaster saw him lead the club to a sixth-placed finish in the third tier in his sole season in charge.

They missed out on a spot in the play-off final after losing to Charlton over two legs.

Having lost the first leg 2-1 at home, Rovers forced extra time with a 2-1 win at the Valley in 90 minutes.

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Extra time finished 3-2 to the visitors with Lee Bowyer's side winning the subsequent shoot-out.

"I think the manager I am now might have been a bit more cautious in the first leg," McCann admitted.

"I thought we had to get a win at home so I went for it, when really a draw would have been a good result.

"I’m not naturally a cautious manager, but I’ve learned that it’s important to be a bit careful sometimes."

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That summer McCann left the Eco-Power Stadium to take over at Championship side Hull City.

Discussing his decision to leave, the 42-year-old said: "I’d been so disappointed that I hadn’t made it to the Championship with Doncaster, and this was a chance to get there immediately.

"It wasn’t an easy decision at all, but it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

"I had to phone around the players we’d agreed to sign for Doncaster and explain the situation.

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"There was a lad called Reece James – who’s now at Sheffield Wednesday – who I convinced to join me at Doncaster after meeting him and his dad, only for the Hull call to come the very next day.

"That was a really tough conversation to have, but I think he’s just about forgiven me now."

Hull were relegated in McCann's first season in charge but made an immediate return to the Championship under him the following year.

He was sacked following a takeover in January 2022 before rejoining Peterborough the following month, replacing Ferguson again.

McCann is now looking for his next job in management.

"I’m hungry to succeed,” he said.

"I want to be the best I can be, and I’m working hard to do that while I’m out of work."