Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann keen to improve players, not just sign new ones, says Cliff Byrne

Grant McCann will use more than just the transfer market to improve Doncaster Rovers, and has a resilience when things get tough, according to his assistant Cliff Byrne.

McCann has returned for a second spell as manager of the League Two club and has already made an impact, signing Ian Lawlor, Richard Wood, Jamie Sterry and George Broadbent in his first few weeks.

But Byrne says he will also work hard to get more out of a squad who were a big disappointment in last season's 18th-place finish.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He has a drive to be successful and to facilitate the improvement of the players and get them to reach their maximum potential, as you'll have seen at his previous clubs," said Byrne, who served alongside McCann at Hull City, and in both spells at Peterborough United.

HUNGER: Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCannHUNGER: Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann
HUNGER: Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann

"It can be an academy player breaking into the team, a young player going on to have a good number of games or a player being sold because they've been so successful. It all breeds success and excitement for the team.

"He's got a real hunger to get players to maximise what they've got and for us as coaches it's up to us to create the environment because we have the training facilities at Cantley that can help and support that."

McCann was sacked by Peterborough midway through last season but dealing with such disappointments are part of being a manager – or, indeed, an assistant.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's part and parcel of the role, the volatility of football clubs up and down the country," reasoned Byrne. "The frustrations of owners, managers and players can all roll into one but I think if you dwell on it and keep living on it and revisiting it, it can only have a negative effect on you.

"We've been relieved from some roles earlier than we would like but that's how life is.

"You glean what you think you've learnt, what you could do differently, and then push on.

"A few times it can be out of your hands, like a change of ownership.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There's a multitude of reasons why you can keep or not keep your job but don't be dismissive, learn from it, take on board what you believe where the benefits of it and sometimes negativity can have a really positive effect on you if you harness it the right way.

"I believe that's a strong trait within the manager and hopefully myself as well – we look to bounce forward rather than looking back."

One thing the pair will look to harness is the way their first spell ended, when the team fell just short in a penalty shoot-out in the League One play-offs. McCann and Byrne left for Championship Hull.

But Byrne hopes that season has given supporters a good idea of what to expect in 2023-24.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We didn't get over the line but it was a really exciting season which everyone was a part of," he said.

"On a Saturday we saw the team try to perform for 96 minutes but that isn't all that goes into it. Across the board every facet of the football club supports that and makes that a success or not a success.

"It's important we drive towards that all the time and as a management and a backroom staff you've got to be behind them all the way."