Doncaster Rovers v Oxford United: Gary McSheffrey willing to spring surprises to shake Rovers up

Gary McSheffrey says there could be a “surprise package” as the caretaker manager takes a fresh look at Doncaster Rovers, but more than a change of personnel, he feels they really needs an injection of positivity.

McSheffrey takes charge of his first League One game at home to Oxford United tonight following a fourth straight loss – to Mansfield Town in the FA Cup – for a side six points adrift of safety. The under-18s coach handed a first appearance this season to Liam Ravenhill and fellow 19-year-old Lirak Hasani made only his second start. Cast out by then-manager Richie Wellens, Omar Bogle and Ed Williams are set to be reintegrated. “They trained with the youth team yesterday but they’ll come back into my group,” confirmed McSheffrey.

“They’ve been training for two months with the (under-)18s and I can assure you it’s good intensity, good tempo, so they should be able to slot into it.

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“There might be a surprise package in the squad.”

Back in the fold: Striker Omar Bogle is back in the first-team picture after being left out by Richie Wellens. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD

Ben Close is still troubled by his hamstring, but Rodrigo Vilca and Dan Gardner are training outdoors again. Jon Taylor still has a nerve problem in his ankle.

As the medical team work on battered bodies, McSheffrey is trying to do the same with minds.

“I’ve just got to try and make the players believe they’re good players again and if you don’t win games that becomes difficult, especially when there’s a Wednesday-night game, Saturday game, Tuesday game,” he said.

“There’s no making them lose even more confidence but they need to know we do need points on the board.”

Changes: Doncaster's caretaker boss Gary McSheffrey. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD.

Last six games: Doncaster Rovers LLLLDW; Oxford United WLLWWL.

Referee: J Oldham (Derbyshire).

Last time: Doncaster Rovers 3 Oxford United 2, February 6, 2021, League One.