Rovers set for season of struggle

Monday 29th July 2013 14:32

Paul Dickov: Doncaster boss has tough job on his hands

Paul Dickov: Doncaster boss has tough job on his hands

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Doncaster FanZoner Daniel Nice is braced for a difficult season and would happily accept a fourth-from-bottom finish if offered it now.

How has your pre-season gone?

We have been unbeaten in pre-season, mainly against non-league sides, but a recent 0-0 draw against Motherwell and a 2-1 win at Bradford City were encouraging.

I don't think results count for anything at this stage, though. The most important thing is that players have got game time under their belts and have learnt how Paul Dickov wants to play this season.

We have not racked up a huge injury list, although Jamie McCombe and Mark de Val Fernandez will be missing for a couple of months at least.

Are you happy with how things have shaped up in terms of transfers - both in and out?

There hasn't been a lot of activity as I write but I expect that to change in the coming days. Mark Duffy, Dean Furman and Harry Forrester are astute signings; they all caught the eye in League One last season and fit the traditional Doncaster Rovers bill, which is giving players who slip under the radar a chance at a higher level.

This worked under Sean O'Driscoll and is the only way we can compete, unless the rumoured takeover comes off. I am old-fashioned and like seeing players and managers given an opportunity up the ladder after having success.

Is your current manager the right man for the job?

Ask me in May! Seriously, Dickov seems a good guy and people I know in the industry don't have a bad word to say about him. I wish him all the best.

I think it's always tough for clubs like ourselves, Bournemouth and Yeovil stepping up into the Championship. There are lots of clubs who continually underachieve in the second tier that are far better resourced than any of us three. And you only have to look at the relegation of Wolves to show that money doesn't guarantee anything.

On the flip side, the drama at Molineux also proved how clubs can get on a run either way. We definitely have momentum.

Dare to dream - if everything clicked into place what's the best you could hope for?

As things stand, a season not continually looking over our shoulders. But if we do get investment, you can usually throw a handkerchief over most of the teams in the division. So a top-half finish with a play-off push would not come as a surprise if we were to sign the likes of Shay Given, Leon Barnett, Richie Wellens and Billy Sharp. Those four as the spine of the side would change the complexion completely.

Back to reality - what are your realistic expectations for the new campaign?

Fourth bottom by virtue of one goal is absolutely fine with me! We have just come up and if you offered me the chance of staying up going into the final game, I'd take it now.

Who will visiting scouts be keeping an eye on this season?

If David Cotterill replicates last season's form, he'll have plenty of admirers come January. Duffy and Forrester are other skilful players who will have no trouble making the step up.

If you had to pick one player who'd be fit for every minute of every game, who would it be?

Rob Jones. There are question marks from some about him making the step up but he has become our leader and was absolutely central to promotion last season. We won't be found wanting on the effort front while Rob has the armband.

But if we manage to snap up a 20-goal man, obviously his name would be entered here!

On the flip side (without being cruel!), who is the player with most to prove?

I don't think anyone at Rovers has anything to prove to the fans or the club. We've just got promoted and if the step up is too much, that's just the way it is.

Certain players may feel they have something to prove to other clubs, etc, but a name doesn't spring to mind.

If you could sign any one player from any other side in the same division who would you plump for?

Jordan Rhodes. Goals pay the rent! I'd say Sharp but he's still contracted to Southampton.

If you only win one game all season who would you take three points from?

Barnsley at Oakwell, courtesy of a Jean-Yves Mvoto last-minute own goal right in front of us.

You can follow Daniel on Twitter at @daniel_nice7 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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