Why Richie Wellens is content at Doncaster Rovers despite tough start to season

AS manager of a Doncaster Rovers side who have netted just once in their opening six fixtures of 2021-22, the one word you would not expect Richie Wellens to currently use is comfortable.

Doncaster Rovers manager, Richie Wellens manager. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

That he chooses to is testament to the focus on the bigger picture in the corridors of power at Rovers and a testing start to the campaign compounded by some indifferent results and an injury crisis will not change that.

After a fraught final third of last term, it always promised to be a difficult start in a season of transition for Rovers and Wellens and so it is proving.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But Wellens – and crucially the board – are focused on the long game and a positive show by a young Rovers side in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup exit at Championship side Stoke showed elements of the style and playing identity he is trying to usher in at the club.

Stoke City's Sam Surridge runs past Doncaster Rovers' Anthony Greaves during the Carabao Cup Second Round clash on Tuesday night. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

He said: “You could tell by my demeanour that I was actually happy with that performance. Because I work with a club, CEO and a chairman who make me feel really comfortable.

“I’m comfortable working with the people who employ me because we know where we want to go and exactly where we are now and know where we want to go. For me, that’s a massive positive.

“I have worked with clubs who have the biggest budget in the league, but they don’t make you feel comfortable.

“I have to say Gavin (Baldwin) and David (Blunt) make me feel comfortable and I saw a team that was well coached, very well organised defensively and a group of players who played with a freedom and expressed themselves.”

Despite being hit by injuries, Wellens resisted the urge to involve Omar Bogle at Stoke and has reiterated his stance that the 29-year-old is not in his plans.

On Bogle, who has so far rejected offers from two clubs in League Two, added: “I said that I will make decisions for the long-term benefit of this football club. We have made the decision (with Bogle) and will stick by it. What we want to do is get players who will take us forward.

“We want to get the right people in. There is nothing worse for a manager if you sign the wrong players and get lumbered with them for a significant amount of time.

“We will make sure we do our best to get the right players in, but there was no temptation there (to play Bogle).”