Doncaster Rovers 'buoyant' after Grant McCann's appointment, says assistant Cliff Byrne
Rovers have had a slim time of it since early 2021, losing manager Darren Moore to Sheffield Wednesday, slipping out of contention for League One promotion under caretaker Andy Butler, relegation 12 months later under Richie Wellens then Gary McSheffrey, and a dismal second half of the latest campaign after Danny Schofield replaced McSheffrey and the side finished 18th in League Two, its lowest league finish in 20 years.
But the return of Grant McCann as manager and his trusted assistant Byrne has changed the mood.
Even before that, Byrne sensed a positive mood as he and McCann met the bulk of the squad and staff before their summer holidays.
"It was hugely important to make that connection because you can make phone calls and Zoom calls but it's not the same," said Byrne, who was alongside McCann in his first spell, in 2018-19, and at Hull City and Peterborough United.
"It was important the players able to come did. Mine's an important relationship to build between the players and the manager.
"It's been difficult for the players for a number of reasons but I think they've had a bit of time to absorb what went on and it seemed like a buoyant mood. We've got a new management team so there's lots to be excited about."
Keeping that positivity whilst working the players hard will be a big part of Byrne's job as link-man between McCann and the squad.
"We try and create that sort of environment, a hard-working environment, there's no getting away from that," said Byrne.
"There's players who were here previously who will have drip-fed that back to the squad.
"We like to think we make it enjoyable and an environment for them to improve, enjoy and play with a smile on their face.
"When you're doing all that, you invariably get positive results."