BEN WHITEMAN has experienced the good and bad sides of rival managers Grant McCann and Darren Ferguson, who lock horns at the Keepmoat today.
Thankfully for the Doncaster Rovers midfielder most of it has been the more favourable side.
Today’s encounter, which sees Ferguson – recently appointed as Peterborough United chief for the third time – make his first return to former club Rovers on his 47th birthday, certainly has a juicy subplot surrounding it.
It is added to by the presence of former Posh manager and captain McCann – who led the club to promotion to the second tier under Ferguson in 2011 – in the home dug-out.
Whiteman can vouch for the credentials of both managers, with Ferguson giving him his chance at Rovers, where he is continuing to flourish under McCann, who revealed this week that the former Sheffield United man is on the radar of Championship clubs.
While he has plenty to thank both for, he has also sampled their adherence to high standards and propensity to let players know in no uncertain terms when performance levels dip.
Quietly-spoken in their utterances they may be, but both McCann and Ferguson – who are likely to be handed respectful applause from supporters of their former clubs this afternoon – also give the distinct impression that they do not suffer fools gladly.
On experiencing their darker side on choice occasions, Whiteman said: “Definitely. I think you know yourself when you get a rollicking.
“They both know when to give it and know when you need an arm around the shoulder.
“They are very similar and both think things through really well and their game plans are very good.
“I think the gaffer now gets his point across in different ways and he is very good at one-to-one management.
“I read in the paper about Mallik (Wilks) and he spends a lot of time with him and it is showing. You have also got to remember that Mallik is still raw and young and the way he is progressing has been different class.
“It is the same with Herbie (Kane) and it is a credit to the manager.
“I think the lads that the gaffer has brought in this season are very good loan players in the likes of Herbie, Mallik and Aaron (Lewis) and Paul (Downing).
“I think last year was more a case of it being everyone’s first year in League One and a case of adapting to that.”