Gaffer talks to www.doncasterroversfc.co.uk about his future plans for the Rovers squad.Paul Dickov gave his thoughts on the recently released ‘Retained List’ which was submitted by the club to the Football League.
Dickov is in the process of reshaping his squad for the upcoming League One season and said that the hard work starts now – including tying down players such as Rob Jones and Kyle Bennett to contract extensions after they were offered new deals to remain at Keepmoat Stadium.
“We’re already identifying targets and speaking to them ahead of next year. I’ve said all along that we want to get all of the squad, or most of it, in place before the start of pre season,” said Dickov.
“Rob Jones had his injury problems, but I think he’s got a lot to offer on and off the pitch but the one thing we have stressed to the players who will be here next year is that there’s no guarantees but Rob’s done a great job with the development squad and we want him to continue with the coaching side too.
“As for Kyle then there’ll be interest in him because he’s a good player but all the conversations I’ve had with him and his representatives are that he wants to stay. We’ll sit down with him and his agent this week. I know about the interest and they’re not trying to do it behind our backs – we’re aware of what’s going on – but all the indications are that he wants to stay.”
Rovers have kept a nucleus of a side – including Paul Keegan, Andy Butler, Luke McCullough, Curtis Main, James Coppinger, Harry Forrester and Nathan Tyson – which they aim to build upon sooner rather than later.
“The contracted players for next year give us a really good base for me to go and build on. The one thing that I want to do is add experience and add ‘know-how’ of the league and energy. We felt that we weren’t far away this year,” he said.
“The mid-table finish was, at the start of the season, probably where we expected to be. However I felt that once we got in to the top six, we didn’t have the players who had the ‘know-how’ of staying in that position and we want to kick on next season and be in and around the top six and not fall away like we did this last season.”
Dickov finished by paying his thanks to the players who are leaving the club, but called for a united front from those who will be at Keepmoat Stadium next season!
“The one thing we want to try and do next year is be better but I want to thank the boys who we’ve released. Big Jamie [McCombe] has had his injury problems but has been professional to the last, Theo [Robinson] similarly,” said the Scot.
“Abdul [Razak] was a low risk option that we explored and he leaves on good terms while we’re keeping our options open with regards to a new goalkeeper and the door isn’t entirely closed just yet on Stephen Bywater.
“Reece [Wabara] and Dean [Furman] were different. We sat down with them and spoke to their representatives and they expressed a desire to perhaps have a look a little higher. When we spoke to them we had to say that we respect their opinion and want them to get a club at a higher level but, at the same time, considering the problems we’ve encountered in previous seasons we don’t want to be in a situation again with players who’ve been with us the previous season are not contracted for the forthcoming season.
“They’re two fantastic kids who I’ve got a lot of time for and I spoke with them this morning to wish them all the best and thank them for, not just their time at Doncaster but also the relationship I’ve had with them over the last five years of management. Dean was my Captain at 22 at Oldham and has a lot of interest both here and abroad so it was a difficult call but at the same time what I can’t afford to do is let things drag on and affect the players that I want to keep next year.
“We have an immediate focus to improve the squad and that does mean that players have now left us. We thank them and we wish them well. With that comes opportunity, and that is an opportunity for us to make our playing staff better. That’s what we all want.
“The work and due diligence has begun and we are very excited at the positivity we are getting from those players that we have opened talks with. Players are keen to come here and that is great for us and our supporters to know.
“The Club is buzzing on and off the pitch right now and we are all genuinely excited about next season.”
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