Richie Wellens frustrated but understanding about Doncaster Rovers' slow start at Wakefield

A sluggish start to the friendly at Wakefield AFC was understandable for Doncaster Rovers according to Richie Wellens - but that does not mean the boss was pleased about it.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 10:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 10:56 am
Tom Anderson heads at goal. Photo: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD

After punishing training sessions in the intense heat this week, Rovers started slowly against the County Senior League outfit before going on to secure a 6-0 triumph.

Wellens has spoken of the difficult balance of putting his players through hard yards at Cantley Park and then demanding productive performances during friendlies.

But he says he wanted a greater tempo from his team at Post Office Road.

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“The difficulty is, you have a hard day’s training on Monday and then you come into these games and look a bit leggy for the first 20 minutes,” he said.

“I think it took at least 25 minutes for us to even get going.

“It was a difficult evening because it was really warm and the pitch was very dry, so it’s not a pitch to be dribbling on or where you can be taking four or five touches.

“We played far too slow at times where we can take it on the back foot and play it forward. We ended up turning that down and passing it back.

“To be fair, Wakefield were very disciplined in the first half.

“It doesn’t matter what team you’re playing against. If we were in the FA Cup against Manchester City and we got into two banks of four and five then we’d be difficult to break down.

“As long as the opposition have good organisation, if you’re not on it at the correct tempo then you’re going to struggle to break them down.”

Two goals from Aidan Barlow plus strikes from fellow trialists Shayon Harrison and Cameron Cresswell, along with efforts from Ben Close and Ed Williams saw Rovers run out comfortable winners.

Wellens said: “We got our distances all wrong but we scored some good goals and there were some good performances.

“I thought the second half team, although Wakefield did tire a bit, did a lot more of what we wanted to do than we actually did in the first.

“We were looking for rotations, looking to play through lines, giving players options where they can go.

“And some of the players are getting that, pretty quickly. You look at Tommy Rowe, he just gets it. Ben Close, I thought in his last 15 minutes was exceptional and he just turned it on.

“I thought in the first 15 minutes of the second half that our tempo had risen and we started to play the ball with less touches and a lot quicker.

“These games are really difficult. We had total control of the ball and we got done on the counter a couple of times because our attacking position was wrong so we got done.

“When you’re keeping possession, you can get frustrated because you want to score goals every time you attack because the opposition is inferior.

“If we have as much control as we did tonight against Newcastle on Friday, then it’d be a really good performance.”

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