Grant McCann tells Doncaster Rovers 'we've achieved nothing yet' despite brilliant run to reach League Two play-offs

Grant McCann saw his Doncaster Rovers team produce one of the great season's run-ins to reach the League Two players and told his players they have achieved nothing yet.

Rovers won 13 and drew four of their final 18 games of the season to go from 22nd to fifth in the table.

It has earnt them a two-legged play-off semi-final against Crewe Alexandra.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But it would be a waste to produce form like that and not see the job out, so MCann was quick to remind his players they have nothing to celebrate.

"It's nothing yet," he cautioned. "I wouldn't say it was an achievement. The achievement is to get promoted - that would be an achievement.

"We've done well to get to this point but we'll keep our feet firmly on the ground and get back to work on Monday and prepare for the game against Crewe.

"I'm delighted with how the boys have adapted themselves and gone about their day-to-day work when things were a little bit tough for them earlier in the season and we were struggling to win.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The boys have shown a real sense of identity about them, the way they've played, the way they've scored goals.

RESERVED: Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCannRESERVED: Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann
RESERVED: Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann

"I'm really proud of the football club today - from the owners to everyone that works around the training ground and the stadium and most importantly the boys who put in the hard yards.

"It's been a great day for us to get in there but it's only the first step.

"I said to the players in the changing room I'm really proud of them, we've been written off this season many, many times, people saying we weren't good enough, we can't get there and things like that but we never once shied away from the fact we could.

"I'm really pleased we've managed to put ourselves in there

"For the last 30, 31 games I thought we were outstanding.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's a credit to all the players. People will talk about the Sutton game (a crucial draw to start the 18-match sequence) changing things but for 30, 31 games to put ourselves in that top position.

"It's a credit to our players and our fans who have supported us up and down the country."

Rovers saw their 10-match winning steak come to an end at Gillingham on the final day but importantly kept their unbeaten run going.

That was far from a given when goalkeeper Lo-TutalLo-Tutala, on loan from Hull City, was sent off after 56 minutes with his side 2-0 up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tim Dieng scored from the resulting free kick and within five minutes the Gills were level, Tom Anderson putting through his own net.

As it turned out, with Barrow missing out on the play-offs after a very poor end to the campaign, Doncaster would have made the play-offs even with a defeat, but they showed character to avoid it.

Substitute goalkeeper Louis Jones made a crucial save ion stoppage time, when Owen Bailey cleared off the line.

"I felt we were really in control first half," said McCann. "The sending off is obviously a big changer in the game. It's just a decision Jamie (Sterry) and Timmy have mad and Timmy's put his hand up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Then we conceded another one but I do believe there was a stonewall penalty for James Maxwell and you're half-thinking at that point is that going to cost us but fortunately it didn't.

"It was never ideal to concede straight from the free-kick and it's something we need to look at because that's a couple of free-kicks we've conceded from the edge of the box," said McCann. "Whether it's something from the wall, we need to look at.

"To concede again was disappointing.

"I was sat with big Tim, our analyst. The line to Cliff (Byrne, McCann's assistant) wasn't great and as I had him running down to change the shape they scored their second. I'm not saying that would have stopped it but I was gutted.

"We had to do something because they were coming at us and putting balls in the box. Credit to the lads who came on, they did really well and there was a great save from Louis Jones to keep it 2-2."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Joe Ironside and Luke Molyneux had put their team 2-0 up in the first half with a diving header and a long-range finish.

"Two outstanding goals," commented McCann. "The first one was something we work on a lot with Joe's position and the forward run from one of our midfielders (Owen Bailey) making a run.

"The second is one Cliff's worked on on the training ground and it's worked a treat.

"It was nice to see it go in because prior to that I thought our corners were a bit disappointing so it was great initiative from the players to change it."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Doncaster travel to Crewe on the bank holiday Monday before playing host to them the following Friday.

"Truthfully, I hadn't thought about it. We're in there and we know what we need to do - win over two legs to get to Wembley. Crewe have been in there all season and the manager's done a tremendous job in his first year.

"I wanted to just make sure we finished strong and we've certainly done that over the last 18 games in terms of result and iover 30 we've been really consistent."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.