New Doncaster Rovers Coach: Same Trend but a Whole Different Ball Game

Doncaster Rovers head coach Danny Schofield gestures on touchline

With a 1-1 draw away at Crewe Alexandra and a 1-0 loss at home to Stevenage, it’s been a mixed week for Doncaster Rovers under new head coach Danny Schofield.

Doncaster had made a rare swift change of coach after the sacking of Gary McSheffrey and whilst early results may not look appealing, there is reason to be positive.

Schofield had his new team in good order, particularly on Tuesday night v Stevenage, a game that left one in disbelief that Rovers failed to take any points away from it.

New Coach, Same Trend but a Whole Different Ball Game: Two Games in for Danny Schofield at Doncaster Rovers

Significant Change in Approach Already Clear

As quoted by the Doncaster Free Press, former manager Gary McSheffrey described his own play style at Rovers as ‘trying to play winning football’, however, failure to get the team to play the club’s desired style contributed to his sacking, as confirmed by chairman David Blunt in the club statement.

McSheffrey had also suggested this Rovers team couldn’t play expansive football.

Days into the reign of Schofield, Rovers were seen playing the ball in fantastic fashion, having Stevenage on the ropes for much of Tuesday night’s game, just lacking in the final third when it came to finishing – which cost them all three points, really.

Following that game, Schofield, who was born in Doncaster, vowed that expansive football was the only football he knew and that would be how Rovers looked to play.

Schofield told the club’s social media channels: “We were the better team – once we get that style of play nailed down we’ll win far more than we lose.”

Despite the loss, the performance v Steve Evans’ high-flying side has left Rovers fans with a taste for more going into Saturday’s game where they host Gillingham at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Worrying Trend Continues but Hope It Will Change Is There

Both of Schofield’s games in charge so far saw a trend that has been rife under McSheffrey this campaign continue.

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Rovers are statistically the worst first-half team in League Two, with just 11 points picked up taking only the first 45 minutes into account. They have gone in with the half-time lead just once in the league this season – a 1-0 lead over 10-man Stockport County.

Rovers’ form in the second half table is much better mind, and, of course, the reason they are not lower than mid-table.

However, failing to win the opening half has proven costly this season – leaving the South Yorkshire side four points behind the final play-off slot and 14 points adrift of first place – and will continue to if it carried on being the case.

The former Huddersfield Town coaches’ side already look a different proposition though and the hope will be that the trend’s continuation is just a coincidence.

Saturday gives Doncaster a fantastic opportunity to start brushing that tag aside. They host Gillingham – the second worst first-half team in League Two – a team that were relegated from League One alongside Rovers last season – but have continued to struggle with just 13 points from 15 games.

In contrast, Neil Harris’ side will take inspiration from their 1-0 away win over Rovers in March, though, both sides look very different seven months later.