Gary McSheffrey Tasked With Keeping Doncaster Rovers in League One

Gary McSheffrey

Earlier today, Doncaster Rovers announced the appointment of Gary McSheffrey as manager.

McSheffrey, 39, had taken over as caretaker manager following the sacking of Richie Wellens back at the beginning of December.

In his four games in charge, the team have won just once, losing the other three. Despite that, the decision has been made that he is the man best placed to keep them up.

Gary McSheffrey Permanent Appointment: Tough Task Ahead

How Temporary Spell Went

In the first ten minutes of Rovers’ FA Cup encounter with Mansfield Town this month, things looked good, they’d taken the lead and the Gary McSheffrey caretaker spell was up and running.

Three minutes after half-time and Mansfield had equalised, the game would soon be gone.

Then Doncaster hosted Oxford United and overall a 2-1 loss was flattering of the Rovers side, who could well have nicked an undeserved point in the end, though they did have a better second half than the fruitless first.

Finally, McSheffrey tasted victory in a mixed encounter with Shrewsbury Town, who, as with almost every visitor at the Eco-Power Stadium this season, could have run away with the game but failed to score and Rovers capitalised.

The December 27 game against Sunderland, which was lost 3-0, was never going to be easy. Let’s face it, McSheffrey hasn’t been dealt the kindest hand, nor was Wellens, really. The summer investment was lacking, Doncaster clearly needed a striker and ended up having to acquire Joe Dodoo on a free having failed to secure their original targets before the deadline.

And, perhaps even more prevalent, is the constant injuries the squad is hit with. Currently, Ro-Shaun Williams, John Bostock, Jon Taylor and Fejiri Okenabirhie are among the names out in the long term. This has led to Rovers using their academy products – more so since McSheffrey became caretaker manager and something that will continue if needed given he had previously been U18 manager at the club.

Captain Tom Anderson and Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith, on loan from Manchester United, were added to the absence list v Sunderland.

January Crucial but Relegation is Realistic at This Point

Often when watching Rovers, you get the feeling that Tom Anderson and Tommy Rowe are just a level above the rest and the club could do with bridging that gap and adding a little more quality of their ilk into the team.

The obvious position to strengthen is upfront. Doncaster are struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. They failed to sign a striker in the summer and they have paid the price for that – scoring just 13 goals in 22 league games this season, at least five fewer than anyone else in League One.

McSheffrey, who played for Doncaster in 2016/17, needs some shrewd signings in January if they are to stand a chance of maintaining their League One status.

Doncaster were relegated to League Two back in 2015/16, bouncing straight back to the third tier after a third-place finish. They have spent most of the last 17 years in League One with two spells in the Championship, including four years between 2008 and 2012.

The closest Rovers came to getting back into the Championship in recent years was an eventful play-off semi-final loss to Charlton Athletic when managed by now-Hull City boss Grant McCann. Unfortunately for the club and its fans, they now find themselves at the other end of the league.

McSheffrey takes charge of his first away game and first game as permanent manager in a crucial trip to Morecambe on Sunday, January 2.

 

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