Delighted Darren Ferguson hailed Doncaster Rovers’ immediate promotion back into League One as a "massive achievement" despite their pre-season favourites tag.
Rovers sealed automatic promotion from League Two with a 1-0 defeat to Mansfield Town at the Keepmoat Stadium, sparking a pitch invasion and wild celebrations.
Ferguson felt that the jubilation matched the size of his side’s achievement, although their squad and budget is far superior to many of their fourth tier rivals.
“The longer you’re in it, the harder it gets,” he said. “Portsmouth have shown that.
“I don’t think you can say that we were expected to bounce back.
“It doesn’t work like that in football. This is a great achievement for the club.
“Over the summer the club could see where I wanted to go with it and they trusted me with that.”
Tommy Rowe scored the winner against Mansfield that rubber-stamped promotion although Stevenage’s defeat meant it was guaranteed anyway regardless of the result.
Rowe was Ferguson’s first addition in the summer and the Scot believes that the midfielder’s acquisition helped bring in star players like John Marquis.
“There was a lot of interest in Tommy over the summer,” he commented.
“Tommy was the one we wanted to get over the line first and that made a difference to us getting others in.
“They saw where we wanted to go with that signing.
“I’ve got to thank the board. They set me up with the recruitment over the summer.”
The thoughts of Donny fans will immediately turn to their first season back in League One next year and whether they can keep hold of the nucleus of the squad that has stormed the fourth tier.
Ferguson provided further assurance that it will be a case of adding to the existing squad rather than contemplating outgoings, while rating his team’s chances in the league above.
“Next season will be a lot more difficult,” he said.
“I think we’ll be competitive, I really do.
“We’ll keep the squad and add to it with similar characters.
“We’ll stick to the way we want to play. A lot of the stuff we’ve done this season would be good in League One. I’m certain of that.”