Doncaster Rovers head to Cambridge United in the FA Cup second round on Sunday in buoyant mood.
Sports writer Paul Goodwin looks at five ways boss Darren Ferguson has turned Rovers’ fortunes around:
Ferguson quickly identified the weaknesses in the squad and took action.
Fans had waited all summer for a right back and then, in Felipe Mattioni and Craig Alcock, two arrived almost at once. The impressive Conor Grant also added some much-needed balance in midfield.
Ferguson’s proactiveness not only plugged the gaps but instantly instilled a lot of belief in the players and supporters alike.
The shift to three at the back has reaped dividends. Rovers now look like a much more cohesive unit, capable of creating chances at one end and shutting out the opposition at the other.
Cedric Evina and Mattioni, in particular, have shone in the wing back roles, while Harry Middleton has made the deep-lying midfield position his own.
Ferguson’s preference for a younger, more energetic and athletic team has reinvigorated Rovers. This team is now playing with more purpose. Getting the ball forward earlier has also helped Nathan Tyson and Andy Williams.
Ferguson unquestionably has a presence about him. “He makes everyone a little bit more on edge,” said Williams last month.
It looks like this squad might have been in a comfort zone prior to the Scot’s arrival. Not any more.
The switch to 3-5-2, dropping and then loaning out Richie Wellens, dropping and then reinstating Williams...
Rovers needed a manager who was not afraid of making tough decisions and, so far, Ferguson is delivering.