DONCASTER ROVERS: No hangover says ‘Deano’

Dean Saunders: 'We'll have players thrilled to be here and battling to get out of League One'.
Dean Saunders: 'We'll have players thrilled to be here and battling to get out of League One'.

DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders is under no illusions about the challenges facing the relegated club in League One next season.

“League One is going to be tough,” he told The Star.

“What we’ve got to guard against is a situation where everybody thinks we are just going to bounce straight back without any problems.

“On the other hand, what I don’t want, is players who were here last season suffering a hangover.

“Fortunately, we’ll have new players who will have no mental baggage and who will be absolutely thrilled to be here, thrilled to be playing in League One - and battling to get out of it.

“My attitude has to be the same; I don’t want to have a hangover from last season, either.

“As far as I’m concerned we’ll be starting with a clean slate.”

Not only will the club’s training pitches at Cantley Park be in tip-top condition when the players report back for pre-season training early next month, following work by the ground staff, but the inside of the main building, which doubles up as a canteen/relaxation area, will also have benefitted from a facelift.

“The building looks like a cricket pavilion but I’ve managed to find a bit of money, in addition to that being spent on the main pitch at the Keepmoat and at Cantley Park, to rejuvenate the inside of it to help create a better atmosphere,” said Saunders.

The Rovers boss says that no decision has yet been made on whether to re-launch the club’s Reserve team, scrapped during previous manager Sean O’Driscoll’s time in charge.

One of the problems faced by the club at the time was the fact that the football authorities refused to allow Rovers to continue to use the pitch at the nearby athletics stadium because it failed to meet minimum requirements.

The cost of hiring the Keepmoat Stadium for matches meant that it wasn’t a viable option to play reserve team games there.

But with Rovers set to take over the day-to-day running of the Keepmoat Stadium from July 1, costs of staging games there would be much less of an issue.

Nevertheless, finance will play a key role in the club’s decision.

“We are currently debating how much it would cost us,” said Saunders.

One of the arguments put forward in favour of the club running a reserve side next season, is that it would help develop young players signed from the Youth team.

But Saunders says the five players he has signed from Paul Wilson’s squad at the end of last season, would not directly benefit if the club were to run a second team.

“I’m going to loan them out so they wouldn’t be able to play in a reserve team,” he said. “But they could play in arranged games behind closed doors where I’d still be able to monitor their progress.”