'If we have loanees, they should be star players' - Gavin Baldwin on Doncaster Rovers' future use of the loan market

Chief executive Gavin Baldwin says Doncaster Rovers will not depart from using the loan market but insists it should only be explored in order to add genuine quality to the squad.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:00 am

Rovers’ use of loanees in recent seasons has come in for criticism, with suggestions over an overreliance at the expense of homegrown and contracted talent.

Baldwin admits Rovers have perhaps made too many temporary signings this season and says the aim will be to never go above five at a time. .

But he says ensuring ‘star level’ quality with each loanee will be the primary goal.

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Mallik Wilks proved to be a major success during his loan spell with Rovers

“We need to ensure that if we have loan players, they are star players and that is where we need to work hard next year,” Baldwin told the Free Press.

“The loans should be significant ones that make a real difference to the first team.

“If we go back to the original pre-Covid strategy, you have your stand-out loans like Mallik Wilks and Herbie Kane, and that is what we see the loans being for.

“What we have been guilty of, maybe in January, is ensuring that we have numbers using loans. That is probably not the best strategy.

“Where it has deviated this year is that we have more than we would normally have. Darren [Moore] was integral in bringing these players in and wanted them in to protect us against the frequency and intensity of games in the second half of the season, a situation we understood given the fixture scheduling this season.

"But we know, in a non-Covid affected season, we need to be in a situation where the loan players are fewer and if we have them they are playing every Saturday and they are not there to sit on the bench.

Rovers currently have seven loanees on their books - Ellery Balcombe, Matt Smith, Taylor Richards, Elliot Simoes, Scott Robertson, Tyreece John-Jules and Josh Sims - with only five permitted in any matchday squad.

Current Rovers boss Andy Butler spoke recently of how much of his focus in shaping a squad of his own would be on contracted players, rather than using loans, reiterating the stance of Baldwin.

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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.