Richie Wellens on Joe Dodoo and getting Doncaster Rovers firing

Richie Wellens is hopeful that Joe Dodoo will be invigorated following his brace for Doncaster Rovers in the win over Scunthorpe United earlier this week.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:42 pm
Joe Dodoo fires on goal against Scunthorpe in the FA Cup. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX

The striker has struggled for form in recent weeks as he has shouldered the burden in the attacking ranks for Rovers.

But he was dominant at Glanford Park, with his two goals coming from powerful runs and well taken shots.

Wellens believes it has been difficult for Dodoo to produce consistent performances having been a free agent between the end of last season and early September, before joining Rovers.

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And he thinks the best is to come from 26-year-old.

“He could have had more goals on Saturday than he did [on Tuesday],” Wellens said.

“I’d have liked to have left him on to get his hat trick, but I’ve got one fit striker so I need to look after him.

“I thought he did really well with his hold-up play, his workrate and it was two good finishes.

“I’ve seen it with so many players before - when you have no pre-season and then you play a batch of games, you’re treading water.

“Hopefully this run of games has done him good, he’ll get his rest in and he’s got a base fitness up and he can get a bit of freshness in the run up to Lincoln.

“It happens and that is why a lot of managers are loathe to take in free agents because you know they’ve just been at the gym and running on their own and there’s no foundation.”

Form in front of goal has been an issue for Rovers as a whole this season, with their 11 goals from 16 league matches the lowest in the division.

Wellens is seeking to improve his players’ ruthlessness but believes it will be difficult to do so as long as he has so few attacking options due to injuries.

“I think it’s a Catch 22 situation,” the Rovers boss said.

“The front three need to be better with more goals and assists. They need to hit the target more.

“But they are playing 90 minutes Saturday-Tuesday.

“If you go across all the team sheets at the weekend, you see strikers and wingers coming off after 60-70 minutes and fresh ones go on.“The ideal situation for us would be that fresh ones go on and continue the pressing and what we’re trying to do.

“At the moment we’re flogging Tiago [Cukur], Joe and Jordy [Hiwula].

“Maybe they need rotating more but we haven’t got the bodies to do it.

“So it’s probably a mixture. We need more freshness in the players but they need to be better as well.”

Wellens believes Rovers’ build-up play has improved in recent weeks, particularly with crosses from wide areas.

And he says work continues on getting more from his forwards when chances present themselves.

“They need better concentration, they need to hit the target,” Wellens said.

“We practice every day on scoring goals and hitting the target to bring more composure and them seeing pictures quicker.

“We get too many situations where we should be slipping a player in but we don’t and we’re shooting into bodies or missing the target.

“We need to improve.”

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