Frustration for Doncaster Rovers boss at limited progress during club’s brush with Covid

The coronavirus-related disruptions of the last week have made for a frustrating time for Doncaster Rovers boss Richie Wellens.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:29 pm
Ben Close scored in the win over Wakefield. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX

With more than half a dozen senior contracted players forced into isolation due to contact with a single case of the virus within the squad, Wellens has missed out on vital time on the training ground.

While he is concerned about the impact on fitness levels and how much he will be able to push the absent players on their return on Thursday, the biggest cause of frustration for Wellens has been the inability to put his ideas and plans into practice on the training ground.

That has also been the case in friendlies, with the Rovers boss forced to bring in a raft of trialists in order to fulfil the fixtures.

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“It’s so difficult and I sometimes get frustrated,” he told the Free Press.

“When you’re a coach or a manager you have a vision of how you want your team to play in your head.

“It’s important that I get the messages out clearly and have a dialogue with each and every one of my players.

“That is the most important thing.

“And then when we go out on the pitch, I start developing relationships between myself and the players. Then we have a debrief and go through the games and we practice it in training.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a couple of the players’ names when they turned up at Bradford. I’d never met them before.

“That can become frustrating and you can take that out on the players. I tried not to do that.

“It’s difficult not to get frustrated but we take a squad of 22 to Bradford and probably only six or seven are ready for the level.

“Come Friday, our squad will have a completely different look to it.”

Looking to take as many positives as possible from the past week, Wellens has been pleased with the developing relationship between key players on the left side of his team.

Tom Anderson, Tommy Rowe and Ben Close have all been available while others have quarantined and he believes that has shown on the pitch - particularly at Wakefield on Tuesday.

“In Tommy, Ben and Tom, I’m starting to see things, once we get a left winger on the outside of them - and Aidy Barlow might be involved in that - I’m starting to see good rotations,” he said.

“Then if we get Kyle Knoyle and Matt Smith on the other side and Jon Taylor becomes fit, we will start to see mirror images on both sides of the pitch.

“The reason why I played Branden Horton at right centre back and Tom Anderson on the left is because Tom will predominantly play on that side so I want to keep that continuity.

“When Cameron John is fit, he’s a good player and he can fit into that.

“We probably could have won the game by even more if we didn’t think long term.

“The thing I like about the players is that the ones we’re going to take forward and work with like to ask questions, why are we doing this and why are we doing that.

“I enjoy working with those sorts of players because I know it’ll make us better.”

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