Doncaster Rovers v Portsmouth: No excuses, just reasons for poor start says Richie Wellens

RiCHIE WELLENS offered reasons rather than excuses for Doncaster Rovers’ disappointing start to the 2021-22 season.

The South Yorkshiremen entertain top-of-the-table Portsmouth in League One this afternoon having lost all of their opening three matches of the campaign.

But Wellens believes that the combination of a host of factors are to blame and insists that his players aren’t a million miles away from where they need to be.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’ve had three defeats on the spin and it hurts,” he said.

Richie Wellens.

“There’s no excuses, there are reasons why. We haven’t scored a goal, those reasons, when you watch us play, hit you smack in the face.

“We’ve had injuries and we’re a little bit short on our squad. We’ve probably been carrying a few who have not been fit.

“We’ve had two away games at probably two of the toughest places in the league and we’ve been in every single game and we’ve been carrying two or three players. When we start playing with 11 fully fit rather than seven or eight, especially attacking players coming back, then we’ll start getting rewards.

“The players are still adapting. In midfield, some of the performances of Ben Close, John Bostock and Ethan Galbraith are putting in are really, really good, but we need to build on that in the final third.”

And although Wellens feels that he is still “a little bit short” in terms of his squad and is keen to bring in at least one more new addition, he says that he believes Rovers can be a force in the division – when they have everyone available.

“I’m actually happy with my squad, I’m probably one short,” the Doncaster chief added.

“But the fact that those three players [Jon Taylor, Jordy Hiwula and Fejiri Okenabirhie] are not in it affects us hugely.

“We had to build a whole new team. If everybody in our squad is fit I think we’re a decent League One team. I think we’re probably one more forward player away from being where we want to be.

“No-one can legislate for Charlie Seaman and Matt Smith being out [due to Covid-19]. We have been short on bodies but that’s nobody’s fault, it’s just unforeseen circumstances.”