Paul Goodwin: Success hinges on boys becoming men

Luke McCullough is just one player who must step up to the plate this season.
Luke McCullough is just one player who must step up to the plate this season.

League One: it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Doncaster and their fans know just what to expect this season.

It won’t be pretty.

It certainly will be aggressive, in your face, 100mph, and a long hard slog from now until May.

The big question mark hanging over Rovers heading into this weekend’s opener with Yeovil Town is do they have the personnel to meet those demands?

After another less than perfect pre-season, Paul Dickov has done well just to assemble enough bodies.

So much of his recruitment hinged upon James Husband’s switch to Middlesbrough. Money is too tight to mention. That’s obvious from the fact that a key man like Paul Keegan has penned only a one-month deal.

Stability and long term success became the buzz words and phrases at the Keepmoat following a second successive summer takeover collapse. Dickov and the board have since done their best to manage and downplay expectations.

But, despite the chaotic summer, the trimming of the squad, and the subsequent cutting of their cloth accordingly, a mood of cautious optimism still surrounds Doncaster as they set off for Huish Park.

And that’s because everyone at the club knows exactly what it takes to succeed at this level. That surreal afternoon at Griffin Park still feels like it was yesterday.

Much of that positivity also stems from a strong-looking first eleven, on paper. An eleven which have the ability to beat any team in League One.

But what Doncaster don’t have is depth. And where gaps were plugged two seasons ago with seasoned pros like Iain Hume, Andy Griffin and Sammy Clingan, it’s the club’s youngsters who will be asked to take up the baton this time around.

Only time will tell if those young lads are ready for the rigours of League One. Boys will very quickly have to become men.

Having lost on their last five visits to Yeovil, Huish Park is hardly the ideal place to start.

But whatever happens this weekend, don’t read too much into it.

Like it says on that proverbial tin, League One will be a marathon not a sprint - and Dickov’s Doncaster will really need to go some to repeat their title heroics of 2013.