How Noel Hunt plans to get Doncaster Rovers firing in front of goal

Noel Hunt is a firm believer that practice makes perfect when it comes to hitting the back of the net.
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The former Republic of Ireland striker will take a keen interest in the form of Doncaster Rovers’ forwards in his role as assistant manager at the club.

And he says scoring at Cantley Park through the week will be incredibly important in ensuring Rovers’ front men find the net during matches.

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“I say that being a footballer is like being a Formula One driver and being a coach is like being the mechanic of the car,” Hunt told the Free Press.

Noel HuntNoel Hunt
Noel Hunt

“You have to make sure every bit is working to get them across the finishing line.

“The gaffer [Richie Wellens] is really good and we’ll get these players into the right areas as often as we can, into the final third or the box. It’s then down to the individual to put the ball in the back of the net.

“I’ve been very lucky as a player to have won all the leagues apart from the Premier League and I’ve won one as a coach. You take a lot of things from what you did, what was successful, what people did.

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“At Swindon we would do striker schools. I would take the strikers out early in the morning or in the afternoons.

“We’d work on hitting the net from different angles, giving them the statistics and educating the players to help them understand why they’re doing it, where to do it and how to do it.

“There’s loads of elements of putting the ball in the back of the net but it’s just about making it simple for these boys and helping them to understand the statistics.”

Hunt says repetition on the training ground will be key to bringing out the natural instincts of the strikers during competitive matches.

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Rovers struggled in front of goal through the second half of last season and the new management team are keen to rectify the problem quickly.

“If you go through training Monday to Friday without hitting the net, how likely is it that you’re going to hit the net on the Saturday?” Hunt said.

“I like players to hit the net 60 to 80 times through the week, every striker, every forward player. And every midfielder to hit the net 20+ times.

“That might be just the player out there on his own, hitting the net from all different angles.

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“If you’ve done that, you’ve got more of a chance on a Saturday that it’s not going to be unfamiliar to you and it’s going to be a natural instinct.

“We want to create something where there is no thought process.

“I’ve been places where we haven’t shot for a week or I might have scored a couple in training.

“But you come to the Saturday and all of a sudden the net is a little bit smaller and the keeper is a little bit bigger in your mind.

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“It’s changing it and understanding the statistics about shots per goals to give them a picture for when it does happen on the pitch.”


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.