Liam Hoden: Squad lacks depth but Doncaster Rovers can still flourish under Richie Wellens

As pre-season preparations go, it has been far from the ideal re-introduction to life at Rovers for Richie Wellens.
Richie WellensRichie Wellens
Richie Wellens

In just a few short weeks, the new gaffer has had to deal with three positive Covid cases in his squad, senior players missing ten day stretches for self-isolation due to close contact and key injuries that have decimated a promising front line.

We should be fearing the worst for what may come with League One arguably at its most competitive for decades.

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But despite the trials and tribulations that pre-season has delivered, I personally am heading into the new campaign with a good degree of optimism for what Rovers can produce over the next nine months.

The squad is light on depth, it cannot be denied. Even if Wellens manages to get done what he hopes to do in the transfer market this week, that fact will not change.

But his focus on adding quality over quantity has given Rovers a strong core that will only grow as the individual relationships are forged in the coming weeks.

The signs have been positive when partnerships have managed to get on the pitch over the last few weeks. Kyle Knoyle and Matt Smith had an instant connection on the right and it was replicated on the opposite flank by Ben Close and the incredibly impressive Tommy Rowe.

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Circumstances have meant those two partnerships have not yet been able to establish a close connection with the wide attacker ahead of them but there is incredible promise in Rovers’ attacking dynamism.

With Wellens unable to bring in the imposing deep-lying midfielder he has craved, there may be a certain amount of openness in the side.

While the manager will not want that in the slightest and will devote time to rectifying the situation in coming transfer windows, it could make for an entertaining spectacle as Rovers seek to outscore the opposition.

This summer may prove to be the time when strong foundations were established, with the finishing touches to come at a later point.

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But for now, if things go their way and they finally get a bit of good fortune on the player availability front, this Rovers side have the ability to trouble the big boys.

Surely their luck is going to change soon?