Harder, better, faster, stronger

Paul Dickov
Paul Dickov

Paul Dickov wants his squad to be leaner and a whole lot meaner next season.

The Scot’s ongoing recruitment drive is focused upon rooting out Doncaster’s soft centre.

Among Dickov’s biggest bugbears last term was Rovers’ inability to win without playing well.

Doncaster’s boss was also upset about the way his side negotiated their way into sixth spot but then completely lost their way.

And it goes without saying that Rovers’ dreadful home record infuriated their manager.

Dickov is therefore targeting several players who will give the squad more of a physical and mental edge.

Next season is unlikely to see a big shift in style of play, with the onus still on passing and pressing.

But the clear inference is that Dickov wants Rovers to be much less of a soft touch, more difficult to play against, more ruthless and more like the Doncaster team that won promotion from League One in 2013.

“We have to be better first and foremost,” said Dickov.

“I want us to be harder, stronger and faster.

“We did not win enough games last season when we didn’t play well. If we weren’t at our best, we tended to come unstuck.

“And I think having got into sixth place like we did, too many players had a fear of success.

“That’s something I need to address this summer and it’s absolutely vital I get players with the right mentality into this football club.

“We’ve got a strong core in place - the likes of Andy Butler, Paul Keegan, Richie Wellens, James Coppinger and Nathan Tyson - but I need more in like those.”

Port Vale’s soon-to-be out of contract striker Tom Pope is one of “loads” of players that has already been sounded out about a move to the Keepmoat Stadium, according to Dickov.

Experienced, streetwise and physically strong players are at the top of Doncaster’s shopping list.

“I’ve got two offers for players in at the moment, and we’re waiting to hear back from them,” said Dickov last week.

“We’ve had a lot of constructive meetings and I’ve spoken to loads of players already.

“We don’t want to rush anything because it’s important we get the right ones. We have to be a little bit patient.

“But I’m genuinely buzzing about the summer ahead and, if we can get the calibre of players in that we’re currently talking to, I’m also very excited about what next season could have in store.”