Why Doncaster Rovers had a nervous wait over Manchester City loanee Matt Smith

Last Wednesday night proved to be a stressful experience for Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Moore.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 1:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 1:24 pm

He sat nervously awaiting updates from Bulgaria where potential loan signing Matt Smith was winning his 11th senior cap for Wales.

Not only was he hopeful that the midfielder made it through the Nations League tie unscathed, he was also deeply concerned that the performance of the 20-year-old would attract other potential suitors before Rovers could fully finalise the deal.

It had been agreed with Manchester City that Smith would spend the season on loan at the Keepmoat, but the paperwork had not been fully signed off at that point.

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Matt Smith

“It was two things really last Wednesday,” Moore told the Free Press.

“You’re hoping that he comes through it unscathed but you’re also aware that he is available and on show for others to see him. As a reminder for others that he was available on loan.

“There were two parts of it. We knew he was coming to us but he was also there on show for others to potentially come in and have a bite at it before it was done.”

Smith was whisked straight to Doncaster on his return from Bulgaria to complete the deal Moore had first tried to get done last summer.

“It was about the different dynamics that he brings to the team,” Moore said. “I think he can play higher up the pitch, I think he can play at the base.

“To have that understanding in his game is a nice one for us to have.

“He adds that bit more bite in midfield and competition too with Richards, Gomes and Whiteman. We’ve got a couple of other younger ones around them as well in Hasani and Ravenhill. Those in there competing, I think it was right to add another one in there.

“He was one we looked at last year and it didn’t quite materialise and we’ve had the chance to bring him back this year.

“Matt will certainly want to get his career up and running with some games here.

“We know he’s a fully fledged international footballer and he’s worked at a level we know he’s capable of doing.

“To give him that front line and excitement and challenge here, it’s one that’s right for all of us.”


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Nancy Fielder, editor.