Doncaster Rovers boss Richie Wellens talks January ins and outs, how he wants transfer windows to play out and his long term vision for the squad

Richie Wellens says he will look to add two to three new faces to his Doncaster Rovers squad in January.
Richie WellensRichie Wellens
Richie Wellens

But the Rovers boss admits he will need to move players on in order to free up the finances required to sign the experienced targets he wants.

Wellens laid the foundations for his Rovers rebuild in the summer with eight permanent signings and hopes to be in a position where there will be minimal upheaval in each transfer window.

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Speaking at the Rovers Supporters’ Club annual general meeting, he offered further insight to his recruitment plans and said a desire to have a strong and healthy core to his squad is at the heart of it all.

“We weren’t going to be like Ipswich or Wigan so we have to spread our budget over three or four windows,” Wellens said.

“What we have tried to do is get six or seven that we know and are sure we can take forward.

“We lack experience right now and I do believe that if we had two or three more men in our squad, we would be a lot higher now and we’d be in a stronger position.

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“But we’ve had to take that, not so much a gamble because Ethan Galbraith and Matt Smith are going to be very good players, but we have to go through their mistakes and learning with them.

“What we have to do, when the next window comes, we’re looking at two or three players, and the same in the next window.

“We’ll have a really good core that we can take forward.

“Then loan players on top of that will be the cherry on the top of the cake.”

A holding midfielder is top of Wellens’ January shopping list after reaching the end of the last window without securing one.

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Wellens says Rovers were priced out of the calibre of player he wants for the position during the summer but he hopes to free up the funds to land a target in the new year.

“We had a list of about 15 and the going rate was about £4,000-a-week plus,” he said. “We could get nowhere near that.

“You have to make a decision. We can go for the big, strong physical man that has got no ability at all. Or we can go for someone who has the ability but lacks the physical strength.

“John Bostock has done really well in recent weeks. The fitter John gets, the stronger he will be. The problem he’s had is that he’s not had a full season anywhere.

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“When we speak about recruitment, number one on our list is a holding midfielder who can glue the team together, who knows his defensive responsibilities but is a man and is physically capable of holding midfield together.

“Our holding midfielder doesn’t need to do stepovers - it’s about playing the ball quick and efficiently.”

Moving on both Omar Bogle and Ed Williams in January will be key for Wellens to generate funds. Both players are currently training away from the main squad and were told to find new employers in the last transfer window.

The combined wages of the pair would give Wellens a good amount of room for manoeuvre in January but he also hopes to send out other players on loan for experience.

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“Branden Horton I think is a really good talent but needs to play games at his stage of development,” he said.

“He’s not going to get in ahead of Tommy Rowe but because of our lack of bodies and Tommy has had to play further up at times, we’ve used him this season.

“We would like to do something where Branden can go out and play and accelerate his development.

“I like loaning young players out to clubs so they can tell us where they’re at. They can train with us every day and play at the weekend and the information we get back from their manager tells us where they’re at and it gives us more confidence to put them in the first team.”

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Wellens has a clear blueprint for the future of his squad mapped out, based on factors such as experience and age.

A key component will be the presence of developing players, including both those that have emerged through the club’s ranks and those in their early 20s making their first serious steps into senior football, with the creation of saleable assets a high priority.

“You want a core group of your own players and we want to start integrating our own players that we develop ourselves,” he said.

“Then we want players at the age of 21 to 24 that we can develop into valuable assets for the club - not only on the pitch but who we can sell in the future.

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“Then we need probably a couple more aged between 27 and 32 because they are the players that will help everybody in the club.

“It’s not just on the pitch, but off the pitch too - the likes of Tommy Rowe and Tom Anderson, experienced pros, really good age.

“Long term, we’re looking at players like an Ethan Galbraith, who in six months will have played 40 or 50 games and his value will have gone up massively.

“If we can sign those type of players on a permanent deal, then the club will get the fruits of that labour.

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“Not only are we developing them, but they become a valuable asset like a Ben Whiteman. They might outgrow us but we’re selling them on and can use the money to continue to grow and develop.”


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