Doncaster v Fleetwood: Rovers set to get tough ahead of new campaign

Rovers' Kyle Bennett
Rovers' Kyle Bennett
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PAUL DICKOV is preparing to go back to the future in his quest to turn Doncaster Rovers into a promotion force next season.

Rovers play their penultimate home game of the campaign this afternoon, with manager Dickov admitting that his side have suffered from being a soft touch at times and need to be physically stronger across the pitch.

It was an accusation that certainly could not have been levelled at them during their surge to the League One title in 2012-13, a campaign when no one pushed Rovers around on the pitch.

Dickov said: “It is a tough, physical league and that will possibly be part of our thoughts in the recruitment process.

“We still want to get in good players who want to play football. But whenever we have come up against big, physical teams this year, we have seemed to struggle.

“Port Vale and Bradford at home come to mind. That is one thing we don’t want to be doing; we want to play our stuff, but we want to make sure we are physically up for it and that comes from mental strength as well.”

Dickov says that planning for next season will start in earnest when he speaks to the club’s hierarchy shortly, with a lot of spadework having gone on already, according to the Scot, anxious that Rovers are not caught short in terms of numbers for the third successive summer.

He said: “We know the positions where we need to strengthen and the type of player we’d like to bring in.

“We want, by the start of pre-season, to have a good base of players we want here for next season.”

Dickov will finalise the futures of a number of out-of-contract players at the end of the season, with one of them, Kyle Bennett, having revealed his desire to stay at the club.

Others whose deals expire include Dean Furman and Reece Wabara, with one piece of business already done with Nathan Tyson to remain after a clause was triggered in his deal for him to stay at the Keepmoat Stadium.

On the incoming front, Dickov has yet to go to his board with a list of confirmed targets, but a predatory centre-forward is likely to figure close to the top of the list.

He said: “We have not sat down and talked about targets for next year as yet.

“But we have had a lot of conversations recently.

“No doubt the discussions will continue in the next week to 10 days up to the end of the month when we will get into a position to know what we can and cannot do.”