Saturday Night Takeaway: Opening day performance shows how much work is to be done for Doncaster Rovers

Football may be back but that does not mean that everyone is entirely ready for it.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 8:37 pm

And, as their League One opener showed, Doncaster Rovers certainly have plenty of work to do before they fully hit their stride.

After a six month break and with a six week pre-season punctuated by a couple of poorly timed cup ties, there was always a chance that Rovers would be a little undercooked when they kicked off on September 12.

In fitness terms, there were no worries. It was another tasking game for Rovers with plenty of running and they certainly had the legs for it.

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Tyreece John-Jules on his debut against MK Dons

But in cohesion terms, there is definitely work to be done.

Rovers lacked the control in the middle of the park they needed in a clash with a MK Dons side that craved the same.

It allowed the visitors to put themselves on the front foot with brilliant movement of the ball and smart runs which Rovers never fully got to grips with.

As the pressure grew, it made Rovers more erratic when they managed to take possession themselves. Decent passages of play were few and far between as the ball was turned over far too quickly.

The goal from Madger Gomes changed the complexion of the game. It rattled MK Dons and injected much needed confidence into Rovers’ play, which opened the match up for the first time.

And it was better from Rovers, as they began to mount attacks with greater regularity.

But it was just that MK Dons got the equaliser, even in the disappointing circumstances of coming so late.

There was to be no hitting the ground running for Rovers. Expecting it would have been a little too demanding.

But they are not a million miles away from clicking into gear.

There were moments during the EFL Trophy tie with Bradford City when the fluidity in the midfield and interchanging of positions was hugely impressive.

The introduction of two new faces in Tyreece John-Jules and Rayhaan Tulloch was always likely to see a slight shift backwards from that - though neither disgraced themselves on debut.

Rovers can take considerable steps forward in the coming weeks, with the rare opportunity for a stretch of blank midweeks.

The real work starts now.

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