Rovers match day programme RTID met up with Rovers’ midfielder Richie Wellens before the Burnley game.
Wellens is in his second spell at the club having previously played under the management of Sean O’Driscoll.
You are in your second spell, what made you want to come back?
I just wanted to play football after spending most of last season injured at Leicester. This seemed to be a good way to get back to fitness when I was approached pre-season. I’m the type of player who needs to play to get fit, so this was a good move. I had the choice of staying at Leicester and trying to get in the side, but I wanted to get out there playing now. I joined pre-season, even though I had not got a contract, so that I could get fit again and give myself the best chance to start the season match-ready. I came here because I want to play and enjoy my football again. Last season was probably the first time I have not played forty plus games, which was disappointing.
What was Pre-season like?
I did not go away to Portugal with the rest of the lads, but they told me that was a tough week. I came in after that, which meant I missed some of the toughest parts. I had been working on my own to build up my fitness levels at a club local to me. I then worked hard when I joined the lads here to catch them up.
You have come here and are playing at the same level as Leicester.
I did not want to drop down to League One, even though there are a couple of big clubs in there who were interested in me. I wanted to stay in the Championship; I feel I am competing well and doing a decent job for Rovers.
You have been here in two spells with two different managers. What has changed here since last time?
Really, it’s only the players who are here who have changed, with Coppinger being the only one left from my last time. Sean O’Driscoll is known for the type of football he plays, with it being a style that is attractive to watch. It was all about passion-based football, but I understand that to get out of League One last season that style was given up for a more direct style of football. Now, Paul (Dickov) has come in and is bringing back the same style as Sean, with good football and building a reputation as a club which likes to keep the ball on the ground and pass. With a bit more luck this season, and a bit more maturity in our game, we could easily have had six or more points than we currently have. We could have been up near the play-off places, as we have played really well in games, but we need to learn that when we are not playing well or have the ball, we must discipline ourselves to manage the game how we want it.
Midfield is an area with lots of competition.
As a club moves upwards the competition for places also moves up, especially in the Championship and Premier League. The manager always wants competition in all areas, so it’s up to the lads who are not in the side to keep pushing the lads who are in the team, and the lads in the team have to give everything to hold on to their places. If you get in the side now you have to work hard to keep that place, as there are lots of good players just waiting to take your shirt in the line up.
The full interview is in the Burnley match day program RTID.