Next month we’ll get the clearest indication yet as to the direction Doncaster Rovers are heading in.
In the aftermath of John Ryan’s departure, Rovers have been keen to keep a lid on things.
Business as usual has been the inference, although Terry Bramall has made no secret of his desire to run the club in a cost efficient manner and cement its standing in the local community.
Those are very laudable aims which put sustainability and the club’s long term future first. But the fact is, from a footballing perspective, Rovers will be on the road to nowhere if they continue to yo-yo.
Relegation certainly won’t entice the few thousand ‘wavering’ fans back to the Keepmoat. Nor would it encourage the next generation to support their local team.
Rovers clearly have more chance of achieving those aims if they stay in the Championship. It’s a feat not beyond Paul Dickov’s men, they’ve proven they can beat the best, but sadly survival won’t come easily.
The current squad’s lack of depth has been played out in sporadic lacklustre displays like those seen at Middlesbrough, Charlton and then Bolton. Injuries through the spine of the team have taken their toll.
So, come January, the transfer window will reveal just how important the current owners feel second tier status is.
Do they soldier on with what they’ve got and hope for the best? Or do they push the boat out slightly to remain at this level?
Either way, the first job has to be to tie Richie Wellens down on a deal that in all likelihood would make him the highest paid player at the club. Lose him, and you lose the heartbeat of the team.
Abdoulaye Meite, who has been training with the club, could well be the additional physical presence that Rovers have lacked at the back since Rob Jones got injured.
While Paul Dickov has a decision to make up front. Has Federico Macheda shown enough since he returned? He remains keen on Manchester City’s Alex Nimely.
With Ryan gone there’s one less fan - and wallet - in the boardroom.
Only time will tell how the off-the-field drama of 2013 will affect Rovers on the field in 2014.