Richie Wellens offers Doncaster Rovers squad a clean slate - but it won't last long

Richie Wellens says the current Doncaster Rovers squad will be handed a clean slate when they return for pre-season training.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 8:23 am

But he issued a warning that they will not have long to impress the new Rovers boss as he begins building his squad.

Wellens will meet his squad as a full group for the first time on June 28 and currently has only 12 players contracted from last season.

Rovers ended last season poorly, with only four wins from their last 23 games.

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Richie Wellens is the new manager of Doncaster Rovers

Wellens has assessed the disappointing conclusion to the campaign, but will offer the players a chance to change any preconceptions he may have - though it is understood that some have more work to do than others on that front.

“If I’m being brutally honest, I don’t think myself or the supporters were happy with the last seven or eight games,” he told the Free Press.

“There will be players there that are given a clean slate.

“But make no bones about it, if they come in pre-season and don’t hit the ground running then there will be room to bring in more.

“I’m giving everyone the opportunity because I think I’m a fair person. But I can also be ruthless and I want players that can take me forward. I want players that the whole of the squad buy into and that can take the club forward.

“If they’re not doing it then they won’t be here.”

Goals dried up for Rovers in the second half of the campaign but Wellens says the reasons were much more than misfiring strikers.

And he is keen to ensure his squad has intelligence in how they create chances.

“I think we had a problem not creating chances,” Wellens said.“The easiest thing is to blame the strikers because we’re not scoring goals. But I also saw a lack of movement, a lack of creativity.

“All I can do as a coach is get a team together that is flexible, dynamic, creative, has rotations and makes chances for the front players.

“What I can’t coach is the confidence and technique to take the chances. That’s up to the strikers.

“Our job will be to make all the chances, and then it’s up to [Fejiri] Okenabirhie and [Omar] Bogle to score those goals.

“If you go back to the team here where we got promoted - did we have size, did we have 6ft3 lads? Not really.

“But we had Jimmy O’Connor, Gareth Roberts, Matt Mills, Paul Green, myself, James Coppinger, Brian Stock - all technically very good as footballers and we could manoeuvre our way around the pitch.

“If I was a centre midfielder and I found myself at right back or wherever it may be, I was clever enough to get out of situations or move the ball to where I wanted it to be.

“First and foremost, they have to have a football brain, and if we can add pace, power and creativity to that, then we’ll have a good team.”

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