Caretakers can take us forward

Tuesday 15th January 2013 15:33

Flynn: wealth of experience

Flynn: wealth of experience

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Doncaster FanZoner Daniel Nice says Brian Flynn and Rob Jones should remain in the dugout.

Flynn & Jones could be the right men for the job

Doncaster Rovers' thrilling 2-1 victory at Stevenage proves that there is still the occasional fairytale in football.

Rob Jones has stepped into the breach alongside Brian Flynn since Dean Saunders departed and the centre-half headed a 94th minute winner in front of our supporters to seal a superb comeback.

It was an important three points in the grand scheme of things. Rovers proved that life will go on without Saunders while breaking a club unbeaten record in away games and being one of only four winners from the sides who started the day in the top half.

Although there is a slightly disjointed look to the table given there are a few League One games to catch up on, Rovers are level with Tranmere and Sheffield United and have only played one more match than four of our main promotion rivals.

So a four point lead on third-placed Brentford and a ten point gap to Bournemouth, who sit just outside the play-offs in 7th, represents a great position to be in. The team averages almost two points a game - generally acknowledged to be automatic promotion form - and have dropped just nine points from 14 away fixtures.

When a manager leaves you often bemoan the state the club has been left in but that is certainly not the case with Saunders. His good work has allowed the club to take stock before making their decision and the fixture list has also helped. There have been no rearrangements squeezed in and if MK Dons were to beat Sheffield Wednesday at home in the cup replay tonight, we'd only have one more game before the end of January. Time appears to have been on our side.

The deadline for managerial applications passed on Monday and whoever gets the position is inheriting a good club who is in a good place at the moment. This is largely unheard of in football and should allow the board to appoint someone with a recent proven track record.

However, with all due respect, the names linked with the position do not necessarily go hand-in-glove with that theory. Glynn Snodin is a former Rovers favourite but has never managed. Steve Lomas has done okay at St Johnstone but 7 victories from 22 games, including a struggle to win at home, is hardly eye-catching.

Gary Smith has done a decent job at Stevenage and took on a similar job as to what we're offering - i.e. a club left in good health - but has not stood out for me. In fact, Stevenage have stuttered in the last couple of months. Although the Oldham chairman rates Paul Dickov very highly, he has had a general struggle at Boundary Park.

Gary Megson, Paul Ince and Phil Brown have also been linked but while they have experience, they hardly whet the appetite. Nick Barmby seemed to be doing a good job at Hull but was not there for long.

Of all the favourites, Mark Robins stands head and shoulders above the rest for good work at South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham and Barnsley and the turn-round job he has done at Coventry. He has experience of this league and the next, which is an important consideration given our position.

Chairman John Ryan is a known admirer but Robins has distanced himself from rumours and seems committed to the Sky Blues. Robins suggests there is plenty of work to be done at the Ricoh and it's hard to argue with that following Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Carlisle.


Could he be tempted by the prospect of an instant return to the Championship, a club with a sounder financial footing and a move back to an area that he knows well? It could still be worth our board asking the question.

But sometimes in football you can't see the wood for the trees and the answer to our 'problem' may be staring us straight in the face.

I felt sorry for Flynn and Jones on Saturday because, in essence, things could only go wrong on the day. The away run couldn't go on forever and even had Saunders been in charge, a trip to Stevenage was always going to be one of our tougher fixtures this season.

When you are on the verge of a record, things often inexplicably go against you. When James Dunne rifled in a brilliant opening goal in a competitive, tight affair after 66 minutes, I wondered if it was to be one of those occasions.

So for the players to rally round and pull off a great win shows the spirit at the club and the fact that they were playing for the new management duo. The scenes upon the full-time whistle, with players singing along to our song for Jones, will live long in the memory.

Is it too easy to say appoint them on the basis of one victory? I guess the result didn't hurt but I was comfortable in the thought of them being in charge on Saturday and I still had confidence when we went behind. If you can have trust in the hardest moments that are thrown at you, I think that is a good indicator.

Jones has become a cult hero at Rovers and the fact that Saunders made him captain immediately shows he posses the leader qualities required in management. The skipper said in a recent newspaper article that he has relished the added responsibility and been heavily involved in team talks and training.

I instantly took to Jones' style of play at the Rovers and his influence is clear. And while Jones appears to be a very vocal character, Flynn reminds me very much of one of our successful predecessors, Sean O'Driscoll.

The Welshman may be softly spoken but is somebody that makes you listen when he is talking. He spoke with a great amount of common sense and humility before and after the Stevenage game. Flynn also has vast experience having managed Wrexham, Swansea and Wales u21s for 23 years. He also had a caretaker spell in charge of the national team.

It is worth noting Flynn's role of scout at the club since the summer because our signings have been good and our knowledge of the opposition has been decent too. Although Saunders made the acquisitions and ultimately made preparations for the next game, don't underestimate Flynn's role in the process.

Just because he doesn't shout from the rooftops doesn't mean he isn't having a big influence at the club. With continuity being the key at Rovers, I'd have no qualms in naming Flynn and Jones as our new management team.

As for the mechanics of the whole thing, I'd give Flynn the role of manager because Jones, in my eyes, needs to focus on playing as a priority. If his form dips, it could affect the promotion push. So I'd name Jones as assistant with a view to him one day being passed over the reins. At 33, he still has much to offer on the pitch.

Jones could still be heavily involved in the process while Flynn looks after the day-to-day running of the club. After working as our scout, Flynn would be the ideal man to assess the transfer market, for example. Lee Butler is still involved but the club could perhaps also consider the appointment of another coach, or bring back Neil Sullivan to help out the new management team.

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