Doncaster Rovers v Cambridge United – Richie Wellens wants Rovers to continue growing
A 3-2 win over Cheltenham Town took the Rovers off the bottom of the League One opening table as it was meaningful, and it was the first time they have scored three goals under Wellens’ management. Rodrigo Vilca and Joe Dodoo scored the first league goals for them.
Next on the to-do list is first-game winning streak since March.
With much to do, there are signs of the patience that Wellens needs and is starting to bear fruit.
“We’re starting from the bottom and it’s going to keep growing,” said Wellens, who inherited and tore a falling team in the second half of last season.
“We had a 10 minute period at Ipswich where we weren’t lacking in confidence, it was going too quickly for us and I had two crosses with concussion so we were all over the store. . Other than that 10-minute spell, no team has really outperformed us. “
The problem is, Wellens works in a results business and waiting for them can be difficult for the supporters, understandably desperate to see their team doing well now.
“My first interview at this club was about: ‘We want to go to the championship, how far are we?’ He remembers. “They had won four times in 24 games light years away. But in three years, if I get what I want and we all shoot in the same direction, I think we can qualify for the play-offs, then it’s a toss.
“If I’m still here then this is where we will be. Now I have to make decisions that will sometimes hurt me (in the short term).
“The support I got is the reason I wanted this job. I was talking to two other clubs and the tenure here was the top six. The Top six this season was going to be very difficult and I was honest with them, but in three years we can do it.
“The club had worked with loaned players, there wasn’t a great connection between the youth team and the first team and lots of things like that.
“We wanted to reclaim an identity for Doncaster Rovers and I think Saturday was a Doncaster Rovers type performance.”
Right-back Kyle Knoyle, back from suspension tonight, was part of a promotion-winning team at Cambridge last season.
“I believe we are a team that can be up there,” he said. “At the start of the games the results weren’t there, but in terms of performance we were better than the majority of the teams we faced. We still have more to give and it will happen in the coming weeks. “
The adversity of a Covid-disrupted preseason followed by a demoralizing start that saw an injury-ravaged team take a point in their first six games should serve them well in the long run, he believes. .
“It’s not about whether we get away with it, we’re definitely going to get by and you’re definitely stronger for that,” he insists.
The way Doncaster got Cheltenham back into Saturday’s game showed that there was still a long way to go. Wellens is a demanding manager, says Knoyle.
“When we need to be told it hasn’t been good enough, he tells us,” he says. “He’s an honest manager. You have to perform. “
From Wellens’ point of view: “Later in our development game (Saturday) probably drifted a little 3-0 down to about 82, 83 minutes and you take one more because you made the game, they get impatient, and you win 4-0, ”Wellens said. “If you’re really lucky you might get one in the last few minutes.
“As soon as we scored the third we felt we had three points and now we have something to lose.
“It’s three goals in three games that we conceded from a corner, so people have to take responsibility. It is having the conviction that you are not going to end it, I will make contact, I will block your race, whatever the cost.
They also have to be more ruthless on the other end, as Jordy Hiwula was told.
“It looks great when someone is doing six or seven steps – you need a step, half a yard of space, to shoot,” Wellens explains. “Be efficient, don’t be a circus act. I firmly believe Jordy will get double numbers this season, but you need to get shot. “
Despite all the talk about patience, Wellens sees a chance to progress quickly.
“We have a very good opportunity with a short time before our next game, another home game, not to build on our momentum but to start building a lot,” he said.
“It’s a long season. In one week, Cheltenham went from 12 to 18 points. If they had beaten us on Saturday, they would have been at 21 and would be thinking about the play-offs.
Tommy Rowe will have as much time as possible to recover from the nervous problem behind his back that forced him to a standstill on Saturday, but Jon Taylor was sent off. Ben Close is also a doubt but Dan Gardner is in good shape.
Last six matches: Doncaster Rovers WLLWLL; Cambridge United LDDDD
Arbitrator: In Haines (Tyne and Wear)
Last time: Doncaster Rovers 1 Cambridge United 0, August 16, 2016, League Two.