MK Dons v Doncaster: Young Rovers are made to feel like squad members ‘not kids’

Doncaster Rovers' manager Paul Dickov (Picture: James Williamson).
Doncaster Rovers' manager Paul Dickov (Picture: James Williamson).
Have your say

PAUL DICKOV acknowledges timing is everything in terms of blooding Doncaster Rovers’ promising band of youngsters.

Mitchell Lund became the latest to be handed a first League start in the goalless draw at home to Fleetwood Town.

The 18-year-old impressed, just as Harry Middleton had done four days earlier on his first start as Rovers triumphed 1-0 at Leyton Orient.

Liam Mandeville is another youngster to have been praised by Dickov in recent weeks after the winger came on and lifted Doncaster in the final stages of the loss at home to Bradford City.

“We have a few coming through,” said Dickov about the club’s youngsters. “The people behind the scenes are working really hard to try and make them better, to make them ready to come in like Mitchell did and like Harry Middleton did the other night (at Leyton Orient) and Mandeville has done. We have a really good group.

“It is important towards the end of the season that we know the right time to bring them all in, with a view to them coming back in pre-season believing they are squad players and not kids any more.”

On Lund, whose only other start had been in a JP Trophy win over Burton Albion in October, Dickov added: “There is a maturity about his game. He takes everything on board and his full League debut was outstanding.”

Rovers’ already slim hopes of forcing their way into the play-offs ended with Saturday’s goalless draw. Tonight’s opponents, however, have plenty still at stake, trailing Preston by just a point in the race to join Bristol City in clinching automatic promotion.

Last six games: Milton Keynes Dons WWWDWW, Doncaster Rovers WLLDWD.

Referee: R East (Wiltshire).

Last time: Milton Keynes Dons 3 Doncaster Rovers 0; March 5, 2013; League One.