ALMOST a year on from his sacking at Peterborough United, Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann believes that his former club will encounter a much calmer and assured figure tomorrow.
Familiar faces will be the order of the day at the Keepmoat Stadium as both McCann and recently-appointed Posh chief Darren Ferguson take on their former employers in a mouth-watering League One meeting.
There may be plenty of symbolism ahead of kick-off, given the dug-out presence of McCann and Ferguson – who know each other well and live in the same town – but the Rovers chief is staying single-minded in his focus.
His only preoccupation is continuing Rovers’ strong season at a direct rivals’ expense, with the Northern Irishman confident in his own abilities and emphatic in his view that he is a better manager than the one who left Posh.
McCann said: “In my first year (at Peterborough) I probably took too much on and did too much all the time and never gave myself a break and switched off.
“In the second year I felt as though I improved and I have no doubt I would have got them in the play-offs if I had stayed.
“But definitely now the experience of that football club helped. It is difficult to manage that club as the expectations are really high and it comes from the chairman and he demands that you be in that top six or better.
“I think I have learned from Darragh (MacAnthony), Barry (Fry) and the expectations of the fans.
“It has also made me a bit calmer and realistic in terms of my own aspirations and targets.”
Ahead of Ferguson’s Rovers return, McCann admits he owes the Scot a debt of gratitude – even if he is determined to spoil his friend’s birthday tomorrow.
On renewing acquaintances with Ferguson, who celebrates his 47th birthday tomorrow, McCann added: “I owe a lot to him as I felt I played the best football of my career under him when he came in.
“He started me on my coaching ladder and he had a huge influence on me. As you get older you learn bits from everybody and throughout your career you do – good and bad really.
“I feel as if I have learned a bit off Darren with the way he approaches games and manages. But predominantly you want to do it your own way.”