Doncaster Rovers: ‘Give me a problem,’ Darren Ferguson tells Liam Mandeville

Liam Mandeville (right)
Liam Mandeville (right)

Darren Ferguson wants teenage striker Liam Mandeville to give him a selection problem.

Rovers’ boss had hoped to add another forward to his squad before last night’s transfer deadline but saw a late bid for 18-year-old Greenock Morton striker Jai Quitongo rejected by the Scottish Championship club.

Mandeville has impressed mainly as a substitute this term and Ferguson has told him to keep banging on the door for a starting spot.

He got his chance from the start against Mansfield Town in the Checkatrade Trophy, laying on the goal for Riccardo Calder after some smart approach play - but not before a half time rocket from his boss.

“He played within himself in the first half and I didn’t want that, I needed him to express himself,” said Ferguson.

“In the second half he came alive and played how we all know he can play.

“Mandeville, I’ve said all along that I want him to give me a problem.

“He knew I wasn’t happy with him at half time but he responded.

“He can be an important player for us.

“Marquis and Williams are playing very well at the moment but we’ve got another four months [before the January window].

“Gary McSheffrey, we hope, will be back in two to three weeks, so I have got four strikers, but it was just a different type of striker that I wanted to get in.

“But if Willo and John keep scoring goals, and touch wood don’t get injured, we’ll be okay.”

Morton released a statement yesterday morning confirming that Rovers had made a bid for Quitongo.

“Morton can confirm that we have turned down an initial bid from Doncaster Rovers for the services of 18-year-old striker Jai Quitongo,” it read.

“The teenager was the subject of an offer from the English League Two outfit last night and manager Jim Duffy told that the club have carefully considered the fee but decided that it is not in line with our valuation.

“Jai is an individual we feel has a big future in the game. He is also considered an important member of our squad for this season’s Championship campaign and we will not allow such a player to depart for what we believe to be below his market value.”

Meanwhile, 18-year-old midfielder Joseph McCormick has penned a deal with Rovers until the end of the season.

The youngster dislocated his shoulder against Newcastle United in pre-season but his rehabilitation is on track.