ROVERS ANALYSIS: It’s the players under the microscope - not the new manager

Rovers players look shellshocked at Peterborough.
Rovers players look shellshocked at Peterborough.

You would fully expect Darren Ferguson, in his first home game in charge of Doncaster Rovers, to be under the microscope tomorrow.

What team will he pick? What formation will he choose? What style will his side adopt?

An air of intrigue unquestionably surrounds Ferguson’s Keepmoat Stadium bow.

However, it won’t be the man in the dugout who will come under the most intense scrutiny from Doncaster’s frustrated fans - it will be the players on the pitch.

Whether your view is that Ferguson has been dealt a poor hand by his predecessor Paul Dickov, or this squad is a perfectly capable group of players who have become drained of confidence and are severely underperforming, the questions about why this squad still find themselves in the relegation zone with more than a quarter of the season gone are becoming louder and much more probing.

Are they motivated enough? Have they got enough fight in them? Who are the genuine leaders? Can they grind out wins? Can they adapt to Ferguson’s pattern of play?

On the back of two rather pitiful defeats at Peterborough and Millwall, these are the sort of questions emerging amid a growing fear that Doncaster could become embroiled in a relegation battle.

And after the way Rovers have flopped following the promise they showed in Ferguson’s first game at Shrewsbury, and failed to show virtually any spark under Dickov and Rob Jones prior to that this season, it’s understandable why fans are seeking some answers.

In Andy Williams, Nathan Tyson and Keshi Anderson, Rovers have a trio of strikers, on paper, as good as anything else in League One.

On their day, the likes of Richie Wellens, James Coppinger and Harry Forrester can dictate or help win a game at this level in their sleep. Those days, however, have been far too rare for too long.

And defensive reinforcements are required, yes. But don’t forget this is the same squad that started the season with four clean sheets from the first five league games, if you discount Bury’s walk-in equaliser.

What’s going on at Rovers? This squad has some explaining to do; starting against Colchester.