Doncaster Rovers: Marauding McCullough surprises himself

Luke McCullough
Luke McCullough

When it comes to Doncaster Rovers players you would expect to embark on marauding runs from inside their own half, Luke McCullough would hardly top the list.

And it turns out the Northern Ireland international was just as surprised himself when he surged into the box on a goal-making run against Stoke City last weekend.

McCullough picked up the ball in the Rovers half, strode through Stoke territory and into the box before squaring to Nathan Tyson who equalised against the Premier League side at the second attempt.

An assist from McCullough is certainly unexpected, especially with the manner in which it came.

“I was surprised,” the 21-year-old told The Star.

“I couldn’t believe how much space I found myself in.

“It just opened up and the next thing I knew, I was in the box.

“The manager said we’d have a chance to do it, driving out of the back with the ball.

“I’ll be looking to do more of it. It was my first assist of the season.”

Few would have begrudged a shot at goal from McCullough after he marched into the area.

But he feels he made the right decision.

He said: “I did think about it but to be fair, I made the right decision looking back at it.

“The shot would probably have been blocked.

“I saw Tyse out of the corner of my eye and just slid it to him.”

The FA Cup tie with Stoke was the second consecutive game McCullough started, taking his appearance tally for the season to 14.

It has proved to be a difficult campaign for the former Manchester United trainee whose game time has been restricted by injury.

And there was also the ill-fated move to right back as former boss Paul Dickov identified him as the player to plug the gap following Reece Wabara’s summer departure.

McCullough said: “I never really thought I was a right back myself.

“I just thought I was doing a job for the team.

“I never thought I’d carry on there or that it would become my position.

“I’m better at centre half. I was just doing a job, whatever the manager asked

“I think I can learn from that experience. If I had to go back there I would probably be a bit more comfortable than what I was before.

“But centre half is where I want to play.”

McCullough is looking to hold onto his place on the right side of the Rovers back three when they welcome promotion chasing Gillingham to the Keepmoat on Saturday.

And he is expecting a tough game from the Gills, who have not dropped out of the top four all season.

He said: “They’re right up there in the league so it definitely won’t be easy.

“They’ve been on unbelievable form.

“People maybe thought they were going to drop away but they haven’t.

“They’ve stayed right up there. It won’t be easy but we’ll be right up for it.”

One player in particular Rovers will be keeping an eye on is attacking midfielder Bradley Dack.

The 22-year-old has emerged as one of League One’s most dangerous players this season, netting 13 goals so far.

McCullough said: “We’ll be trying to kill his space.

“He’ll be looking to get into the pockets of space in front of us.

“But it’s all about us.

“If we can impose ourselves on them, he won’t be seeing too much of the ball hopefully.”