Young strike duo could be answer to Rovers’ prayers

Jack McKay. Photo: Steve Uttley
Jack McKay. Photo: Steve Uttley

Apparently the answer to all of Doncaster’s prayers is to sign a new striker.

Goals are in short supply and Rovers’ forwards are going through a dry spell - so the glaringly obvious thing to do is to recruit.

The transfer window will close on February 2, but it is more than just time against Paul Dickov in his search for a goal-poacher capable of firing Rovers into the top six.

It is what 99 per cent of clubs in the land are looking for at this time of year and Dickov seemingly only has the funds for a foray into the loan market.

But the solution to his problem, and a cost-effective one at that, could be staring him right in the face.

And rather than cast his net far and wide, for a player more than likely to be down the pecking order and lacking match sharpness at his own club, it would arguably be more in Doncaster’s interests to first look internally for a cure.

In Jack McKay and Liam Mandeville, Rovers have two youth team strikers who can’t stop scoring at their level. Mandeville, a hard worker who protects the ball well and knows where the net is, notched again in Rovers’ FA Youth Cup defeat at Swansea last week. McKay, more of a poacher and more talked about, bagged a hat trick in the previous round against Norwich City, who boast a category one rated academy.

The longer the pair remain out of the first team equation, and the longer Doncaster’s senior strikers fail to fire, the more Dickov is effectively saying he does not believe they are ready for the step up to League One football. But the only way he will really find out is by throwing them in at the deep end. Can it really do any harm?

Unless Dickov is about to pull a genuine rabbit out of the hat, and there is every chance of that happening with the Premier League connections he boasts, there are several reasons why giving youth its chance would be the better option.

As touched upon already, it won’t cost the club a penny.

But, more importantly, Rovers would be giving a platform to a young lad champing at the bit to make an impression, with energy to burn, and willing to work their absolute socks off for a club who has given them their big chance and is close to their heart. No loan striker would tick all those boxes. A McKay or Mandeville would also have the home crowd right behind them, galvanising fans growing increasingly frustrated with Theo Robinson and Curtis Main.

Dickov has said ‘the time has to be right’ to blood young players. Fair point. But he has absolutely nothing to lose by giving McKay or Mandeville the chance they deserve.