No place to hide for any slacking Doncaster Rovers players

Gary McSheffrey insists there will be no place to hide for any Doncaster Rovers player not willing to put in the hard yards.

Sunday, 16th January 2022, 8:46 am
Eco-Power Stadium
Eco-Power Stadium

The Rovers boss has placed great emphasis on running statistics for each individual player, having felt the overall workrate in the team was not good enough.

And he insists players not pulling their weight in matches and training will be named and shamed.

"Last week against Fleetwood, our highest runner was 10.7km and I made it clear to them this week that isn't good enough," he said. "That wouldn't win you games in the National League.

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"Collectively as a group they were running 105km and that is no where near good enough at this level. You'll see Wigan constantly running 115km, 117km.

"The best teams run the most and they've got decent end product when they get in good areas.

"We put it on a few of them this week and told them their running stats weren't good enough.

"They've probably got used to habits of keeping the ball too much without any penetration and not sprinting back in quick enough.

"We nailed them on that and I think we'll see some of the highest running stats this season.

"We've highlighted it.

"No one wants to see the distances and be in the bottom three - and we do it in training now as well.

"If players are in the bottom three and you can see you're not working hard enough, you'd like to think they'll be embarrassed around their team mates because we're exploiting it now."

There was a notable upsurge in energy levels during Saturday's defeat to Wigan Athletic.

McSheffrey has targeted a significant improvement in fitness levels since being appointed Rovers boss.

And he says that will involve a change of culture at Cantley Park, with the players expected to be mindful of their effort levels.

"It was all brushed under the carpet because no one was getting their distances and they weren't asking for them," he said.

"All that stuff was neglected and it's coming back into the club now.

"Gradually you'll see fitness levels improve because players will get competitive with their team mates and they won't want to be embarrassed at seeing they've done 9.5km in a game, which isn't to the level.

"If they don't want to run hard enough, fast enough and long enough, they'll drift by the wayside and fall down the leagues.

"Obviously there's been lots of injuries so you have got an excuse of being cautious over not getting more.

"But the less you train, the less strength and conditioning you do, you cannot compete at the elite level.

"We need to nip that in the bud.

"We're getting a new head of sports science in on Monday and he's top drawer. He'll hit the ground running, he knows the levels required.

"The boys will be back on a good strength and conditioning programme and they have been over the last couple of weeks. There will be a good injury prevention programme.

"And they'll get the distances they need during the week to compete at League One level."

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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.