Transfer window: Priorities for Doncaster Rovers and what they are most likely to do this January

Andy Butler
Andy Butler

The January transfer window re-opens on Saturday - so sports writer Paul Goodwin looks at what is likely to happen from a Doncaster Rovers perspective.

Goalkeeper

Rovers will hope to get the green light from Manchester United to extend Sam Johnstone’s loan until the end of the season.

However, there is a risk that they might have to wait for the nod from Louis Van Gaal - who won’t want to leave himself short of options.

United’s David De Gea has been linked with Real Madrid, while his deputy Anders Lindegaard has been told he can leave Old Trafford.

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has been training with United.

Defence

The area that needs the most attention and will be the focal point of most of Paul Dickov’s work this January.

Signing up Andy Butler on a permanent deal - something which should have been done last summer - is a no-brainer following the impact of the Doncaster-born defender.

Out of 11 games that Butler has played since joining on loan from Sheffield United, Rovers have lost just two of them.

Judging by Nigel Clough’s recent comments, most of the work on a permanent deal for the 31-year-old has been done. Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s as quickly as possible will be a priority for Dickov.

Left back was something of a problem position prior to the arrival of Enda Stevens, but the Aston Villa defender has helped to shore things up.

Stevens has been told he has no future at Villa so extending his loan until the end of the season should not be a massive problem - unless another club comes in with a permanent contract for the Dubliner.

The problem for Dickov is that extending Stevens’ temporary stay risks ostracizing Cedric Evina, and if the Scot deems it more important to use limited funds elsewhere he could yet hand Evina a lifeline, knowing Reece Wabara and Liam Wakefield could also cover at left back.

Luke McCullough, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is mulling over on a longer term deal.

Midfield

Holding onto Harry Forrester is the priority.

The former Brentford winger has had a disappointing season on the whole and a move away would seem very unlikely.

However, Forrester’s man of the match performance against Coventry on Boxing Day showed exactly what he is capable of - and it could well have alerted a few Championship clubs on the eve of the window.

Should they receive an offer, Doncaster would be foolish to do business for anything less than £500,000.

Dean Furman’s impending departure to the Africa Cup of Nations is extremely unhelpful, and a case of really bad timing too.

The form of South Africa’s new captain has been key to the renewed drive and energy seen over the festive period.

If Dickov wants to stick with the 4-1-4-1 formation during his absence then he may consider a loan, although it is doubtful whether funds would be available.

It is more likely that Marc De Val and Harry Middleton will be asked to fill in where needed.

Dickov might also consider playing James Coppinger in a more central role, with in-form Harry Forrester and Kyle Bennett occupying the flanks.

Attack

You can never have too many strikers - but this is an area of the team that Dickov has no immediate concerns about.

The Scot recently rubbished reports linking him with French striker Achille Campion.

Campion has been on loan at Port Vale from Swedish side Norrby IF and, according to reports in the Potteries, was being watched by Rovers number two Brian Horton. His loan expired on January 1.

The priority in attack is to get Nathan Tyson fit and firing again.

With Theo Robinson on form, and Curtis Main, Jack McKay and Liam Mandeville all waiting in the wings, a new striker is not a priority.