'The rebuild is 25 per cent done' - What Richie Wellens said about the long term project, his job security and Doncaster Rovers fans' mindset
Richie Wellens is at pains to point out that Doncaster Rovers are ‘25 per cent into their rebuild’ but accepts he and the club need results now to win back supporters’ confidence.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game against Cheltenham Town, Wellens denied that the size of the job at Rovers was even bigger than he first thought.
Rovers are bottom of League One and, in what has felt like a continuation of last season’s catastrophic collapse, have taken just seven points from their first 12 games.
Since February Rovers have lost 24 of their 35 league games.
Wellens has signed 14 new players since taking charge in May, including five on loan, while captain Tom Anderson and midfielder John Bostock have been the only survivors of last term’s wreckage to have featured regularly this season.
"I knew as soon as I had the first interview what was available to me and I knew it was going to be a hell of a challenge,” said Wellens.
“We’re probably 25 per cent of where we want to be in terms of the rebuild.
“I’ve started the rebuild at the very bottom.
“Look at Newcastle, that’s now a fantastic job but I wouldn’t want to be the next Newcastle manager that goes in because the expectation levels are going to be huge. Whoever goes in at Newcastle, the one after that will obviously bear fruit.
“We’re at the very start of the rebuild and we’re probably about 25 to 30 per cent of the way through it.”
Rovers have lost nine of their 12 league games this season, scoring just six goals in the process.
Asked if he was confident he would be afforded the time to complete the rebuild, Wellens said: “My relationship with David [Blunt] and Gavin [Baldwin] is tremendous. They’re two people who are very supportive, that love the club, that love football and want us to do well.
“But I’m aware that we need results. I’m a big boy and I can take the flak.
“What I want to do is be constructive. The easiest thing is to go ‘this, that, whatever’. We’re performing okay. Our performance levels and the things we can control, we’re performing okay and we should have more points on the board.
“We need to keep performing like we do but we need to take chances, score goals and get points on the board.”
Wellens has branded Rovers’ away record this season of seven defeats from seven as “unacceptable”.
But the home form has been more encouraging and Rovers’ boss has been heartened by the fans’ support at the Keepmoat Stadium.
"Our supporters are clever,” he said. “It’s not like some clubs where it’s long ball, it’s horrific to watch and they might get some short term success but long term it never really works out.
"This club has been built on a style of football that got them a sustained period of success.
"So our supporters are clever. They know what good football looks like, they know there needs to be patience to get that good football.
"We need to start getting results to get their confidence back. I don’t think it’s totally gone yet but we do need to get results to get their confidence back.
"But I’m working for a group of supporters that know good football, that are clever and know what we’re trying to build. They also know the finances available this season – which will improve vastly in next summer’s window.
"So I think they’re clever. They’re sticking by us but we also need results over the next two or three weeks.”