Doncaster Rovers must battle back

Flashback: Dave Penney with the Conference play-off final trophy in 2003 when Rovers beat Dagenham and Redgridge 3-2
Flashback: Dave Penney with the Conference play-off final trophy in 2003 when Rovers beat Dagenham and Redgridge 3-2

FORMER Doncaster Rovers’ boss Dave Penney reported on the club’s demise last season whilst working as a local radio expert summariser.

Having also managed Rovers in League One, as well as the likes of Oldham and Bristol Rovers, Penney is well placed to comment on the club’s situation as they prepare for life back in the third tier of English football next season.

“For a long time the club has been on an upward curve and relegation to League One is their first real setback,” said Penney.

“The question is: can they reverse it and get themselves going back up the league again next season?

“It’s difficult at the moment to comment on how they will do because I don’t know what the team will be.

“We know that some players will probably leave and it will be up to manager Dean Saunders, as is the case with all people in his position, to recruit players who will be able to handle Division One within whatever budget he’s got to work with.

“The players who will still be at the club next season will all have the quality to play in League One. But Rovers will also need players with battling qualities.

“If you’ve got a mixture of players with skill and battling qualities, though they can be the same players, then in my experience you’ve got half a chance of doing well in League One.

“I always liked my players to be committed and to be prepared to run through a brick wall - something I believe Dean has also mentioned.

“That’s why I had men like Ricky Ravenhill, Tim Ryan, Steve Foster and Mark Albrighton when I was in charge at Doncaster.

“There are probably going to be seven or eight clubs who are going to be having a go next season and hopefully Rovers will be one of the sides up there challenging for promotion - either automatically or through the play-offs.

“There is quality in depth in every league but there is a massive jump between League Two and League One and League One and the Championship.

League One is not easy - just look how Scunthorpe have struggled this year after being relegated.

“You need a bit more aggression, if you like, in League One than in the Championship; it’s a bit more physical.

“I think Rovers will find that the ball is more up in the air going into the box than it was in the Championship and some teams play the ball from back to front instead of trying to play through midfield.

“But I’m sure Dean will have done his homework and identified the type of players he wants in his team.”