This is what EFL expert George Elek thinks about Doncaster Rovers ahead of new season

EFL expert George Elek says Doncaster Rovers are set for a season of transition but is confident they will not get sucked into a relegation battle.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 10:44 am
Updated Friday, 6th August 2021, 10:50 am
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Not The Top 20 Pod duo Elek and Ali Maxwell, who feature on Sky Sports and Quest’s EFL coverage, have predicted Rovers will finish in 14th place - a repeat of last season - on their League One 1-24 Predictions Pod.

Elek is confident that new boss Richie Wellens will keep Rovers away from danger as they rebuild following last season’s collapse.

He praised this summer’s recruitment and expects Rovers to gradually strengthen after ditching a loan policy he described as ‘not a sustainable way to run a club that can progress year-on-year’.

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Elek said: “It’s a positive in my view [that Richie Wellens has been appointed]. I know he’s had a funny season having left Swindon to go to Salford and then losing the Salford job but I think he takes his rightful place at being at a side who have lofty aspirations over the next couple of seasons in League One.

“Hopefully it’s a bit of stability for him as well, given the jobs he’s had. He’s taken jobs at Oldham, Swindon and then the revolving door at Salford.

“I think hopefully now he can actually build something sustainable. Whether that’s going to be this season [I’m not sure], as you can tell by our prediction of 14th it feels like it’s going to be a transition season, a consolidation season.

“I’m really happy that they’re not going to be as reliant on loans as they were last season. Obviously in the short term that is a blow because Taylor Richards, Tyreece John-Jules, Matt Smith, Josh Sims – these were their best players last season and they’ve gone which can’t be a good thing. But I like the way they’re starting to recruit.

“[Jordy] Hiwula, I’m excited to see getting first team football again in League One. Ben Close is quite a smart pick-up. Matt Smith, who was at Swindon last season and the Swindon fans loved, is there and Kyle Knoyle is a very smart signing indeed.

“There’s no [James] Coppinger. I don’t think that’s going to have much impact on the pitch but off the pitch I’m sure he’ll still be knocking around so it shouldn’t make too much of a difference. Reece James is the biggest loss on a permanent basis.

“But Wellens is just a very smart operator and I cannot see a world where Doncaster with him at the helm, and with those players I’ve mentioned brought in, struggle. The squad right now is ready to go, I’m sure they’ll bring one or two more in but in terms of depth they don’t need anything, they’re absolutely fine.

“I’d be amazed, with Wellens there and with a full pre-season and some of his players already in, if they were sucked into any kind of relegation fight.

“I think they’re going to be fine. I think they’re going to build on this because as good as those loan players were, and as great as it was sometimes to watch John-Jules and Taylor Richards buzzing off each other, it’s not a way to build a sustainable model and a sustainable way to run a club that can progress year-on-year and that’s hopefully what we’re going to start seeing from Donny.”

To listen to Not The Top 20 Podcast’s League One 1-24 Predictions 2021/22 click HERE