Doncaster Rovers: ‘It’s not good enough for us’ as Richie Wellens axed by Rovers

DONCASTER ROVERS will begin their recruitment process for a new manager on Monday following the decision to sack Richie Wellens after less than seven months in charge.

The Rovers hierarchy called time on Wellens’s 199-day reign on Thursday afternoon following a hugely difficult first half of the season.

Under-18s coach Gary McSheffrey will take interim charge of Rovers before a full-time appointment is made, with the club hoping to appoint Wellens’s full-time successor before Christmas.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

McSheffrey’s first game at the helm will be in Saturday’s FA Cup tie at home to Mansfield Town. He will be assisted by Under-16’s coach Frank Sinclair.

Richie Wellens, axed as manager of Doncaster Rovers. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

A club statement read: “The club’s board have taken the decision that change is required at this time in order for a permanent appointment to be made in time for the opening of the January transfer window.”

Whoever is handed the position at Rovers, about to embark on their search for a fifth full-time manager in three and a half years, must somehow salvage a season which has been troubled for all manner of reasons.

On the pitch, Rovers have been in the League One relegation zone all season, winning just three of Wellens’s 19 league games in charge, with their away form being particularly desperate.

They have comfortably the worst away record in the English Football League, having picked up one point from a possible 33 en route to losing 10 of their 11 league games on their travels.

Wellens’s final game in charge was a pitiful Papa John’s Trophy exit at Crewe on Wednesday.

Progression into the last 16 of the competition would have banked Rovers £20,000, while victory in Saturday’s FA Cup tie would be worth £34,000.

Speaking after the match at Crewe, in what proved to be prophetic fashion, Wellens’s assistant Noel Hunt said: “We have to look at ourselves as staff, players, the lot and this is not acceptable.

“It wasn’t acceptable in my playing career to lose like this and it’s not acceptable now.

“It’s not good enough. It’s not good enough for the Doncaster Rovers and it’s not good enough for us.

“We can’t accept this.

“It has to change and we know that,” added Hunt, who last night also departed Rovers.

A number of mitigating factors – poor recruitment decisions prior to his arrival, budgetary constraints in financially challenging times allied to significant injury problems and Covid issues – did not help the cause of Wellens.

In August, Wellens told striker Omar Bogle, brought in during the January transfer window and one of the club’s highest earners, he had no future at the club.

But the forward rebuffed moves to League Two ahead of the summer transfer deadline.

Another signing brought in at the start of 2021 in midfielder Ed Williams was also quickly made available for transfer early on in Wellens’s tenure.

The pair have yet to be offloaded by the club.

Wellens was truly never able to field a settled side either.

Rovers’ much-chronicled injury plight recently deepened with the news that Fejiri Okenabirhie, Cameron John and Ro-Shaun Williams will all face significant spells on the sidelines.

Yet despite having plenty to contend with, consistently disappointing results in the opening four months of the campaign seriously eroded the position of Wellens with supporters and – more pertinently – the board.

A Trophy loss at Crewe, the only League One side below Rovers in the table, proved the final straw and prompted the decision to dismiss Wellens, 41.

Rovers must now strive to rescue a sorry season, with 2021 having proved to be an annus horribilis for the club. As it stands, they are effectively seven points adrift of safety with a goal difference of minus 23.

Rovers return to league action at home to Oxford United on Tuesday evening.