Rovers Round-Up: 29/10
A week on from the 7-1 demolition of Southend, Rovers get back into action in the EFL Trophy, surely feeling fresh after Saturday’s trip to Tranmere was postponed. Off the pitch though, there have been plenty of interesting tidbits over the course of the week so we’ve collated a few of the more noteworthy ones just in case you missed anything in the media.
Rovers hunting for Head of Recruitment
The club are strengthening their scouting arm by appointing a dedicated Head of Recruitment to oversee the identification and capture of new players, according to the Yorkshire Post last week.
Manager Darren Moore is among the panel interviewing prospective candidates – hence his dapper attire in Thursday’s presser – as Rovers look to create a synergised approach to player acquisition between manager, board and staff.
“We want to be a club that adopt an approach where we identify the players who we want at the football club and not something that is specifically agent led,” Moore told the Post.
“We want to put ourselves where there is clear forward thinking and identification of what we need. A player must be the right fit as a technical player, a tactical player and the right character. The individual has a huge part to play in the player or players that will be coming in, short term or long term.”
Rovers last had former player Russ Wilcox in this role during Darren Ferguson’s tenure as manager, with the squad built during that time serving as the bulk of what led Grant McCann’s side to the Play Offs last season. After so much turnover in the summer, a coherent and proactive approach can only benefit the ongoing rebuild of the squad undertaken by Moore and his staff since arriving.
InStat TOTW honour for 3
Perhaps no surprise after the brilliance of the 7-1 win last Tuesday night, three Rovers players earned a place on the InStat Index Team of the Week for League One last midweek.
Reece James, captain Ben Whiteman and Jon Taylor all feature in the XI having performed impeccably at Roots Hall. Unlike the official EFL Team of the Week covering all three divisions, InStat devise a side for each league individually and compile the best players in each position based on statistical analysis.
Two players each from Sunderland Bolton also featured, but Rovers were the only side to have three players feature. A fine and well deserved honour for Darren Moore’s team after such a convincing, ruthless display.
Both Kieran Sadlier and two-goal striker Kwame Thomas apparently came up just short of featuring in the front three of the XI, beaten out by Sunderland forward Will Grigg, Bolton striker Daryl Murphy and Rotherham’s Matt Crooks.
Thomas & Taylor enjoying newfound form
The official Doncaster Rovers website carries interviews with first team players Kwame Thomas and Jon Taylor at the moment, with both singing the praises of the club and Darren Moore after hitting form in recent weeks.
Thomas spoke of his relief at getting another opportunity in league football having spent the early part of the campaign sat at home without a club, calling it “a blessing to be playing and scoring goals.”
Taylor meanwhile praised the togetherness and quality of the squad, stating that “they make it such a good place to play and such a good team to play in.”
He spoke of improving as a player and his aim to score more goals as the chances he has had to date mean he “could be pushing six or seven goals” so has been working on his finishing in training.
Both players were also quick to mention the impact Darren Moore has had on them since signing, with Thomas saying that Moore “has been brilliant with me since I’ve arrived here, I respect absolutely everything he says and any decision he makes,” whilst Taylor added that “the gaffer and the other coaches work…every single day and we all learn so much from them all.”
Wimbledon tie gets a date
Rovers were handed a rather uninspiring draw in the 1st Round of the FA Cup this season but will be confident of a win to kick-start a run to try and emulate last season’s heroic journey to the last 16 when they face League One rivals AFC Wimbledon.
After various fixtures were selected for live TV coverage, the date and time of the game at Kingsmeadow has been confirmed as a 3 o’clock kick-off on Saturday 9th November.
It’s no surprise that this divisional clash wasn’t picked, but the cup weekends have been chopped up by various TV ventures for the past few seasons, with Rovers’ 1st Round ties at Chorley and Cambridge in recent years moved to Sunday kick-offs in aid of the BBC’s ‘live highlights’ Final Score offering.
Thankfully this is not the case for the Wimbledon tie so the 700 hardy souls who make the trip in support of Rovers on this occasion can do so for a traditional Saturday afternoon start.