Flynn is committed to Rovers’ long-term future

Youth team product: James Husband.                 Picture: Steve parkin
Youth team product: James Husband. Picture: Steve parkin

BIG-THINKING Brian Flynn has shed a little more light on his plans to improve Doncaster Rovers as a football club.

Flynn revealed last week that he has a ‘big plan’ for next season and has already set the wheels in motion, regardless of whether Rovers find themselves in League One or the Championship.

The Welshman was reluctant to go into great detail about the nature of that plan when The Star caught up with him at Cantley Park.

But his latest comments will fuel speculation that the former Wrexham and Swansea boss, who spent eight years coaching Wales’ elite youngsters, hopes to build the club from the bottom up - and perhaps renew attempts to launch an under-21 side.

Former Rovers boss Dean Saunders stated from the outset of his reign that he wanted to bring back Rovers’ reserve team but was forced to shelve those plans following relegation from the Championship and the £6 million loss in revenue that came with it.

But the club’s financial restructuring since the summer might help Flynn resurrect those plans.

“What I intend to do here, in terms of my plans for the future, is to improve the fabric below the first team,” said Flynn.

“I want to improve the club basically, and build something for the long-term future of the club.

“I can’t go into great detail about it at the moment but it’ll definitely improve the club.

“When you get into the Championship it’s something that the club must have,” he added.

“I’m working for it to come to fruition in time for the Championship.”

Rovers currently run a centre of excellence for young players, boasting teams at every age group ranging from under-nines through to under-16s.

The club’s under-18 team also play in the Football League Youth Alliance and currently sit second in the North East table behind Hull City.

One thing Flynn might wish to develop in the longer term is Academy status, although this would require a sizeable investment in resources and facilities.

Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley all fielded teams in this season’s inaugural Professional Development League (PDL), a new national under-21s competition introduced as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), the new academy system in England.

Having spent a large chunk of his management career working with young players, Flynn will be keen to bridge the gap between Doncaster’s youth team and first team, and an involvement in the PDL, a new four-tier academy structure, would do just that.

Rovers could potentially apply to play in the Central League, now an under-21 division for the lowest categorised academies, from next season.

On the subject of youth, Flynn said: “The youth setup is the lifeblood of the club.

“Producing your own players can be vital to a club.”

Last week Flynn told The Star: “I have a big plan for next season.

“When you’re older and bit wiser you can do that. The plan is big for next year, and it’s all in place. I’m looking at this as a long-term project.”

Youth teamer Chris Whincop returned to action following a five-month lay-off in a friendly on Monday.

The teenage striker broke his leg against Notts County last September.