Doncaster Rovers FC

Key player: Fejiri Okenabirhie

After only recently making the jump from non-league to League One, Okenabirhie is something of an unknown quantity to many but the 24-year-old forward proved enough at Shrewsbury to warrant a £75k move to fellow League One outfit Doncaster Rovers.

The forward demonstrates a good turn of speed and a clinical finish which makes him a dangerous asset for any team. During his time in Dagenham the forward operated as both a winger and a striker. Okenahirhie has also had a bright start to life at the Keepmoat Stadium but questions will lie to whether the forward can continue to improve but at only 24 years-of-age the signs would certainly be promising.

See the whole League One Season Preview 2020/21

Manager: Darren Moore

At the end of the 2018 season, if you had said Darren Moore would be managing in Doncaster you would have laughed at. The first ever Jamaican manager in the top flight of English football was roped in to be caretaker at a struggling West Brom. That month West Brom went unbeaten, resulting in Moore collecting the Premier League manager of the month award.

Despite relegation the Baggies were happy with Moore’s performance and appointed him permanently in the bid of a first time return to the promise land of Premier League football. Moore did well but after a string of poor results he was surprisingly sacked despite his side sitting 4th in the table.

Moore has opted to operate with a 4-2-3-1 system during his time at Doncaster which has provided stability but a 9th place finish was not enough to better their previous seasons’ play-off finish.

Creator: James Coppinger

Even though he will be 40 in January, Coppinger still remains key to Doncaster Rovers’ creativity. As a player who relies on skill rather than pace, there is nothing to say Coppinger cannot continue to be his side’s main man for a few more years to come.

With him on the field, Rovers are a much more complete unit, and the continuity of his experience will be vital with a new era underway at the Keepmoat Stadium. 

Last season: 9th in League One

A 9th place finish by the points-per-game system saw Doncaster comfortably finish in the top half of the table. Although stable, they provided little in terms to excitement, which was a backwards step from their previous campaign.

Despite this, many Doncaster fans will be hoping they’ve taken one step backwards to take two forwards but to the neutral casting an eye over their squad there is little to get excited about. 

Key departure: Ben Whiteman

I know. Whiteman hasn’t left yet. And maybe the club will end up keeping him. But there is so little to get excited about in terms of Doncaster’s recruitment that I have decided to focus on the potential departure of key midfielder Ben Whiteman.

Being able to keep Whiteman in Doncaster is just as important as a key-signing for Doncaster after the midfielder was so vital to their previous season. He was the key in connecting defence to attack, and provided an influence in terms of a goal scoring output from both the spot and outside of the area. Whiteman has been surrounded by Championship interest all summer and there is no surprise since the midfielder is only 24-years-of-age. 

Target: Top-half

Although there is certainly some quality in this Doncaster Rovers side there is little to be excited by. With a packed fixture schedule it is unlikely that Rovers will be able to field their best players week in week out and with a squad simply lacking in quality it seems they will struggle to impress consistently.

Although Doncaster are certainly stronger than some sides near the bottom it seems unlikely that Doncaster will be troubling any teams up the top of the division. 

Opposition view

(provided by Doncaster Rovers fansite Into The Empty Net)

After another summer of turnover in the squad, things feel on the up at Doncaster. Manager Darren Moore has a squad of players he likes and is gradually getting the balance right across the team.

It’s a young team but one with lots of talent – Ben Whiteman is the best passer of a ball in League One and remains a Rovers player at the moment despite strong interest, Tom Anderson is a rock in defence and in Fejiri Okenabirhie Rovers have a clinical finisher up front. We’ve signed some top, top prospects on loan – like England youth internationals Joe Bursik and Tyreece John-Jules, and overall there is an optimistic mood that Rovers can challenge for a Play-Off spot again.

 

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League One Season Preview 2020/21