Grant McCann releasing Doncaster Rovers stalwart is a warning as he gets ruthless in search of promotion

Grant McCann has shown his ruthlessness by releasing Tommy Rowe plus six other first-teamers whilst the rest have been warned they will go too if they do not report back in the right shape.

But Rovers have made their pitch to keep free agent Hakeeb Adelakun, as well as Luke Molyneux and Harrison Biggins.

The ultra-versatile Rowe started 19 League Two matches last season and the play-off semi-final second leg against Crewe Alexandra where his team missed promotion.

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Rowe made 267 appearances in two spells, and was a key player when McCann was last in charge, when the side reached the League One play-off semi-finals. In between time Rowe was club captain.

But he will not be offered a new deal when his contract expires, along with Charlie Seaman, Ben Bottomley, Liam Ravenhill, Jon Taylor, Maxime Biamou and Caolan Lavery.

Taylor has only started five league games since March 2021 after being plagued by injury.

Winger Molyneux and attacking midfielder Biggins – both of whom scored in the 2-0 semi-final first leg win which Crewe cancelled out in the return before winning on penalties – are also out of contract, but have been offered new deals.

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Forward Adelakun was on loan from Lincoln City, who have released him. After joining in January, he scored nine goals in 21 league and play-off appearances.

VERSATILE: Tommy Rowe played a huge number of outfield positions for Doncaster RoversVERSATILE: Tommy Rowe played a huge number of outfield positions for Doncaster Rovers
VERSATILE: Tommy Rowe played a huge number of outfield positions for Doncaster Rovers

Thimothee Lo-Tutala, Tom Nixon, Matthew Craig and Billy Waters were also on loan, and are set to return to their parent clubs. Tottenham Hotspur youngster Craig and Hull City goalkeeper Lo-Tutala were key figures in the strong finish to the season which took Rovers from 22nd at the start of February to fifth at the end of April.

The club have used their options to extend the contracts of Jack Degruchy, Bobby Faulkner and Tavonga Kuleya but transfer-listed Deji Sotona, who finished the season out on loan at Boston United.

Those players not on the hit-list should not consider themselves safe, however, with McCann warning he does not want anyone without the hunger to challenge for next season's title, or anyone who reports back for pre-season unfit, as he claimed some did last year.

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"Players didn't manage themselves properly over the summer and came back using pre-season trying to get fit," he said.

"Half the group wasn't fit, there were players training with lots of niggles, hence why we had 14, 15 injuries at the time.

"The players will be made very clear that if they aren't fit in the summer they'll be surplus to requirements because there's no way we're going through that and putting our fans through what we saw in the first three or four months of (last) season.

"Some of the players have got a decision to make. If they're not ready to win the league, don't come back."

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