Paul Goodwin’s Rovers column: A proactive summer is required now more than ever before

Gavin Baldwin

Gavin Baldwin

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Gavin Baldwin talked about a ‘statement of intent’ from the owners this week but only the actions of Doncaster Rovers this summer will reveal just how serious they are about returning to the Championship.

The proof will be in the quality, number and cost of the players that arrive at the Keepmoat Stadium over the next few months.

More so than ever before - with a sense of frustration and, more worryingly, apathy among supporters - the club must also be seen to act swiftly and decisively in their bid to improve on a below par 13th place finish.

They must seek to generate interest, make people stand up and take notice and convince fans that Doncaster are deadly serious about giving promotion a genuine shot.

‘I’ve heard it all before’ were the sentiments of one of my twitter followers in response to Baldwin’s comments. And it is hard not to feel at least a degree of empathy with those fans who still feel Rovers are too ponderous in their transfer dealings and prone to missing out on their top targets.

There was a sense of that again earlier this week when clubs like Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Scunthorpe United and Huddersfield Town all published their retained list at the earliest opportunity, while Rovers informed the media that it could be a number of days before they were in a position to do the same.

When Rovers choose to go public with such matters is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, although it felt like a missed opportunity to say to people ‘we really mean business’. Players and agents can often hold these announcements up though, it’s not always the club’s fault.

What really matters is they recruit intelligently to fill the obvious gaps in the squad: a goalscorer, a goalkeeper, an experienced centre half, a left back and a midfielder capable of competing for Richie Wellens’ jersey are the very minimum requirements.

Getting the right player in is more important than getting the first one that becomes available.

All indications suggest Paul Dickov’s war chest is indeed better than last season’s. But on the back of two chaotic pre-seasons, Rovers have rarely needed a proactive and productive summer like they do this year. Only then can they lay claim to a ‘statement of intent’.