Paul Goodwin: Rovers recruitment off to solid start - but four more required to really push on

Andy Williams
Andy Williams

Doncaster Rovers’ transfer business has been excellent so far but they probably need four more quality additions to push on and really make people sit up and take notice.

Paul Dickov has been as good as his word.

Thorsten Stuckmann

Thorsten Stuckmann

From back to front Thorsten Stuckmann, Gary MacKenzie, Richard Chaplow and Andy Williams all know what it takes to compete at the top end of League One and appear to be solid, well thought out signings.

Their arrival has notably lifted the mood around the club.

A downbeat disappointment at the way last season ended has been replaced with a cautious optimism as the new campaign fast approaches.

However, for Doncaster to really make their mark next term, and make the transition from mid-table might have beens to genuine promotion contenders, they still have work to do and gaps to plug.

In effect Rovers have so far replaced Stephen Bywater, Jamie McCombe, Dean Furman and Theo Robinson.

You could argue that in each case, the calibre of player that has come in represents an upgrade - although that may be slightly harsh on Furman, whose energy and versatility in midfield will be missed.

But to really push on Rovers require more. They need to replace Reece Wabara, Enda Stevens and Kyle Bennett just to have the sort of squad depth they had last season - when it was arguably a lack of depth that ultimately caught up with them.

An old fashioned targetman and/or further cover in central midfield would not go amiss either.

Dickov has to create a culture of competition for places in every single position in order to get the best out of people on a more regular basis and eradicate the inconsistency that blighted last season.

There can be no picking players on past reputations, no resting on laurels, no sign of complacency.

The emphasis might be on fitness this week at the pre-season training camp in Portugal but the team that will line up against Bury on August 8 is already taking shape.

Stuckmann, a man mountain, should provide a more commanding presence than Bywater.

MacKenzie, more mobile than McCombe, would appear favourite to partner Andy Butler, while Luke McCullough may be groomed more as Paul Keegan’s understudy.

Chaplow’s versatility could see him play wide, in a midfield two, three or just behind a frontman. Williams, the natural finisher this squad has been craving, will lead the line.

The spine of the team is virtually in place. The two full back positions require urgent attention, while there are still gaps in midfield and attacking areas.

If Dickov can bring in the same sort of quality he has done so far, Rovers could be genuinely in business.