Rotherham United v Doncaster Rovers: Lot more to come, vows Richie Wellens

If Doncaster Rovers are trying to play in a way that reflects manager Richie Wellens’s cultured playing career, he knows Rotherham United will match the work ethic of his former team-mate Paul Warne.

Wellens and Warne were Oldham Athletic team-mates between 2005 and 2007, and the former can see a lot of the latter in the Millers.

“They have done well in this division in recent seasons, they know how to deal with the demands of the league,” said Wellens of today’s hosts in yet another South Yorkshire derby in League One.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I played with Paul Warne and he was a very fit lad, so we know Rotherham will have players who will keep going for 90 minutes.

Richie Wellens (Picture: Getty Images)

“There are some big clubs in this division but anyone that finishes above Rotherham will get promoted, I’ve no doubt about that.”

Rotherham have lost three of their last four games but Doncaster have it even worse, still to win under Wellens, who has completely rebuilt a squad which fell away terribly in the second half of last season. Both managers believe performances have been better than that suggests.

“Usually when you’ve not had a great start, confidence can dip but there are plenty of players doing well at the minute,” insisted Wellens. “It’s just the results not matching the performances for us, but we have individuals in really good form.

“Our start if we look at it has been tough, we’ve had a couple of promotion contenders and a really difficult game at Accrington.

“When I look at the progress we’ve made since Wimbledon (his first competitive game in charge) I’m happy, and there is a lot more to come.”

The key to finally getting that first win lies between the ears according to on-loan goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg, called up by Sweden for their World Cup qualifiers against Spain and Greece either side of a friendly with Uzbekistan and almost certainly near the top of the list of players Wellens was talking about when he referred to fine individual performances.

“The manager wants us to keep believing in what we’re doing, and we all have that same mindset,” said Dahlberg, whose penalty saves knocked Walsall out of the League Cup and last week secured a point against Portsmouth.

“It’s a big game for the club and the fans, we’ll have a lot of fans there so hopefully we can get a win for them.

“There are a lot of games to play throughout the season so we know it’s very early still to judge things.”

Doncaster have tried to be less dependent on loans this season but Dahlberg is one of three who have had international call-ups this week, prompting next Saturday’s visit of Cambridge United to be postponed. Tiago Cukur and Ethan Galbraith have been called up by Turkey and Northern Ireland’s Under-21s respectively.

Rovers have a huge number of injuries to deal with today. Captain Tom Anderson and forwards Jon Taylor, Jordy Hiwula and Fejiri Okenabirhie are all out, whilst there are doubts over Ethan Galbraith (groin), Cukur (calf), Ro-Shaun Williams (knee), Cameron John (back), John Bostock (back) and Kyle Knoyle (fatigue).