No more days off for Doncaster Rovers squad as staff look to change fortunes

Noel Hunt revealed days off have been cancelled for the Doncaster Rovers squad indefinitely until the poor form has been addressed.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 9:00 am
The Rovers training ground at Cantley Park

The Rovers players were told in no uncertain terms that no stone will be left unturned in the bid to spark a revival, with Wednesday’s meek defeat at Crewe Alexandra in the Papa John’s Trophy proving the final straw.

And it started with Thursday’s scheduled rest day being changed, with the squad ordered to report to Cantley Park - something that will continue for the time being at least.

“We’ve come to the decision that there’s no more days off,” assistant manager Noel Hunt told the Free Press.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’re going to be in every day until we make this right as a team, as a group together.

“The buck has to stop somewhere. We have to look at ourselves as staff, players, everybody and it’s not acceptable, certainly in my career, to lose like this and I won’t start now.

“It means we’ll be in every day, we’ll be working every day and we’ll be working hard - not whinging and crying about it but getting on with it and progressing and developing a mental strength.

“That’s what we need. We need the mental toughness when times are hard and the chips are down, we dig in, we stay in games and we stay strong and stop wavering from what we do.”

Hunt admits he was left questioning the desire of the players in the aftermath of the 2-0 loss at Gresty Road.

“It has to hurt you,” he said. “I looked around the dressing room and I asked them does it hurt.

“Do they go home and not sleep? That’s what football should mean to you.

“It’s a privilege, it’s an honour to play football for a living. Millions of people across the world, would die to be at a football club like this.

“That is what it takes and we want to recruit the right people, like Tom Anderson, Kyle Knoyle and Joe Olowu who comes in and speaks his mind and has a right passion about not accepting it.

“It makes me so angry the way we fall out of a competition like we did.”

Former Republic of Ireland striker Hunt believes some players are in for a reality check, if they have not realised the magnitude of Rovers’ current plight.

“I think they do need it,” he said.

“I think some of the performances tonight are unacceptable and something has to change.

“It has to change. If that means we have to be in extra hours and every day of the week, so be it.

“You have to make sacrifices for football and to be in this position. We’ve got to be willing to do that.

“I’m willing to do that. I’ve got a wife and two small girls 150-200 miles away but I’ve got to sacrifice that to try to make Doncaster Rovers a successful football club.

“That’s why I’m here.

“The performances in the second half and the last ten minutes of the first half don’t fly.

“We have to change. We know that. We’re not stupid.

“I’m used to winning all my career and I’ve been very lucky. But you make your own luck, you work hard to make luck.

“You have to have a fight, desire and a hunger.

“As a staff we won’t give up and we will work hard to make it right. That means in January making signings, changing personnel and we have to.

“It’s not good enough. We’re second bottom of the league and we’ve just been knocked out of a cup.”

*

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.