Andy Butler enjoys Doncaster Rovers managerial debut after being given free rein as stand-in

Andy Butler had his appetite for football management whetted by a 5-1 FA Cup win at FC United of Manchester.
STAND-N: Andy Butler took the Doncaster Rovers team at FC United of ManchesterSTAND-N: Andy Butler took the Doncaster Rovers team at FC United of Manchester
STAND-N: Andy Butler took the Doncaster Rovers team at FC United of Manchester

The centre-back took charge of Doncaster Rovers for the first-round tie after Darren Moore, his assistant Jamie Smith and goalkeeping coach Paul Gerrard were forced to watch the game on television in self-isolation.

The Rovers coaching staff was infected with covid-19 after Tuesday's trip to AFC Wimbledon – something the Football League announced shortly before Saturday's kick-off they are going to investigate.

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But without the manager, Doncaster produced a performance of real professionalism and no little quality to brush aside Northern Premier League opposition with all their goals inside the first 50 minutes.

“It was a good professional performance and the players did exactly what the gaffer asked them to do,” said Butler, who was also an unnamed substitute.

“Obviously towards the end of the second half there were things they could have done better but overall I was pleased with the performance.

“The cameras are here for a reason so the players had to go out there and do a job.”

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When managers have had to self-isolate this season they have often been in touch with the bench and the dressing room on matchday, but Moore showed his confidence in Butler – who combines playing with managing Doncaster Rovers Belles – by leaving him to it.

“They didn't speak to us during the game, they gave us free rein,” he said.

“I spoke to the gaffer on Thursday and Friday and he named the side and the subs and gave me free rein from there, really. The subs were mine and Nick's decisions which they fully supported. He told us to enjoy ourselves, so we did.

“The manager's still in charge, I'm basically just here to implement what he's saying. It's a massive learning curve for me and one I really enjoyed.

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“On Thursday I was more nervous about speaking to the players one-on-one than I was the game. I relished it and I'm really thankful and grateful that the club and the gaffer trusted me.

“I just asked them to play like a League One football club and I was pleased with the confidence in how we played the game.

“I've loved every minute of it. I've had some experience with Doncaster Belles and the academy and all that's helped me.

“It's been different but it's an experience I'd like to keep going with and learn from so I can keep improving. I'm a young manager and it all helps me in the future.”

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Butler was also able to hand a debut from the bench to 17-year-old Liam Ravenhill, son of former Rovers player Ricky.

“He's been excellent in training, a really good attitude,” said Butler. “He plays similarly to his dad, he puts himself about and gets around the ball. It was nice to give him his chance in front of the cameras.”

Butler said that left-winger Jon Taylor missed the game with a minor thigh strain.

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