Darren Ferguson insists he does not regret handing out five new contracts since taking over as Rovers boss.
But he admits that it may have contributed to the club’s serious dip in form following the turn of the year.
Cedric Evina, Harry Middleton and Mitchell Lund penned new long term deals in December, before Nathan Tyson and James Coppinger later agreed one-year extensions in March.
Ferguson currently finds himself in the rather awkward position of trying to overhaul a relegated squad that is almost completely under contract for at least another season, with the exception of back-up goalkeeper Marko Marosi and youngster Matty Davies.
When he was asked about handing out new contracts early into his reign, he replied: “It was a necessity that we gave contracts to Middleton and Lund. You’ve got to look after your assets.
“At that time they were both doing really well and I know there was people looking at them.
“Evina would’ve been out of contract [now]. If he comes to the end of his contract and we haven’t sorted him out, there’s a good chance he probably leaves for nothing.
“And Tyson was going really well and showing a great attitude.
“I don’t regret it,” he continued.
“But I do definitely believe their form dipped.
“Whether that’s connected? I’m not sure. But you can say that about quite a lot of players.”
Asked to clarify whether he was referring only to the players who have signed new deals, Ferguson said: “I think you can say that about the team in 2016. Their form dipped from where we were.”