Doncaster Rovers: Retaining players is priority over new signings insists Paul Dickov

Andy Butler
Andy Butler

Paul Dickov insists his focus in January will be keeping his current group of players together rather than hunting for additions to the Rovers squad.

Dickov is particularly keen on securing his current back five for as long as possible as he looks to maintain Rovers’ excellent recent defensive record.

He has already partly succeeded by extending the loan deals of Sam Johnstone and Enda Stevens while tying down Reece Wabara until the end of the season.

And his focus will now be on a permanent deal for Sheffield United centre half Andy Butler, with a new two-and-a-half year contract for Luke McCullough not far behind.

“We need to keep this group together,” Dickov said.

“It’s a group of players that recently have been great for us. We want to keep the group together as long as possible and I think that’s important.”

Johnstone yesterday signed a loan deal until January 28 while Stevens will remain at the Keepmoat until the end of the campaign.

Should Dickov, as expected, complete a permanent deal for Butler and convince McCullough to pen new terms, further business in the current transfer window appears unlikely.

The Rovers boss has operated on a tight budget since the summer, with the development of youth players becoming one of his primary aims.

The Star understands bringing in the likes of Johnstone, Stevens and Butler on loan involved strong negotiating on Rovers’ part, plus grace shown by the trio’s parent clubs.

How much further Dickov’s budget can be stretched remains to be seen.

But the Rovers boss was particularly noncommittal when asked about whether he would be looking to make new additions this month, instead pointing to the number of players he currently has available for selection.

He said: “We’re out there looking at players and speaking to people all the time.

“You don’t want to upset the good thing we’ve got going at the minute by bringing too many players in.

“We had Kyle Bennett and Nathan Tyson back on Saturday and those two have been excellent for us this year.

“So, the squad tomorrow is looking a lot stronger.

“It’s only Rob Jones and young Ben Askins who are out at the minute.

“The squad is looking a lot stronger than it has been earlier on in the season.”

Youth team graduate Alex Peterson has returned from his loan spell with Scarborough Athletic having scored three goals in ten appearances.

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