Doncaster Rovers: ‘It’ll be anything but dull’ - Paul Goodwin’s verdict

Doncaster's David Cotterill gets away from Carlisle's Paul Thirlwell.  Picture: Andrew Roe
Doncaster's David Cotterill gets away from Carlisle's Paul Thirlwell. Picture: Andrew Roe

Flash back to Doncaster’s Championship demise.

Rovers were accused of being too nice, a soft touch on their travels. They were said to be lacking in leaders, lacking a Plan B.

And as their four-year stay in the second tier caved in beneath their feet, any sign of the team spirit that got them there had evaporated in the experiment.

Now fast forward again and Doncaster are returning to the Championship armed with everything they once lost. Out of adversity came triumph - but now the acid test awaits.

Rovers are returning to a much stronger division than the one they departed only a year ago.

It’ll be fast, furious and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Mistakes will be punished, and more quality will be required to pick teams apart.

But at least Rovers are back in the second tier with a team that is united, adaptable and packed full of leaders; one that is defined by its spirit and one that is ready to scrap for its life.

They have a ready made formula for success on the road too, although implementing it will be a lot tougher.

And the signs are that Paul Dickov’s more fluid attacking formation could make Rovers more inventive and penetrative, particularly on home soil.

While pre-season has gone well enough on the pitch, off it it has been nothing short of a logistical nightmare as takeover talks have stunted the club’s summer recruitment drive.

However, the long term benefits of the mooted investment clearly outweigh the short term headache it has given Dickov.

A few weeks ago most fans would have bitten your hand off to finish fourth bottom this season, and to a certain extent that would still represent a successful season for Rovers. It would be a small step in the right direction.

Only this consortium, should their proposal eventually be rubberstamped, are not thinking in small steps.

Last season was meant to be one of consolidation and look what happened then, so it’s anyone’s guess as to how this campaign will turn out.

Knowing Doncaster, it’ll be anything but dull.

Prediction: 17th

Key man: David Cotterill

Champions: Reading

Relegated: Yeovil, Barnsley, Charlton