Richie Wellens' mixed feelings on Carabao Cup progression with Doncaster Rovers set to visit Stoke City

Richie Wellens admits he has split feelings about Doncaster Rovers’ progression in the Carabao Cup.

By Liam Hoden
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 1:51 pm
Rovers will visit the Bet365 Stadium, home of Stoke City, later this month
Rovers will visit the Bet365 Stadium, home of Stoke City, later this month

Rovers triumphed on penalties after a goalless draw with Walsall on Tuesday to book their place in the second round.

And they have been drawn away at Championship side Stoke City in the next stage.

While pleased to have another game for his side to get up to speed following their disrupted pre-season, Wellens says he does worry about the further risk of injury within his small squad.

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“We run the risk of injuries,” he told the Free Press.

“We wanted to win because we want to get a good side for income to come into the club.

“It’s great that we’re through and we want to get confidence but it’s another Tuesday game where you run the risk of getting injured.”

Rovers are set to visit Stoke during the week commencing August 23, meaning there will have been little chance of respite during the first month of the campaign.

Prize money for progression through the early rounds of the competition is minimal with last season’s first round winners receiving £5,000 while triumphing at the second stage earned a further £7,000.

Wellens was largely pleased with the performance during Tuesday night’s win at Walsall as his side showed improvement from the disappointing showing against AFC Wimbledon at the weekend.

He said: “That just gave us a bit of confidence - and we’ve needed it because we’re taking punches from all directions at the minute.

“I feel like Rocky Balboa.

“Injuries, Covid, get them back. Injury, Covid, get them back.

“What I wanted so see was cohesion, and getting to the ball better.

“Our starting positions were so much higher, we were much more aggressive.

“It will take games. You learn through adversity and losses.

“Did we make the same mistakes as the weekend? I don’t think we did.

“Our quality in the final third needs to be so much better but our pressing and intensity was good and we had a hell of a lot of the ball. It was quality ball too, it wasn’t just passing for the sake of it. We moved it with tempo.”

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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.