Doncaster Rovers: Top men back McCullough to shine

Luke McCullough
Luke McCullough
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Promoting youth will be a major characteristic of how Rovers will operate over the next few years.

While this is likely to bring a few nervy moments when inexperienced youngsters are thrown into the mix, few people will be concerned about the increased role Luke McCullough will take this season.

Signed as ‘one for the future’ last year, for the 20-year-old the future is very much now.

With Jamie McCombe taking the first steady steps on his return from a severe back injury and Rob Jones attempting to shake off the pains a lack of game time brings, McCullough looks set to be a consistent figure in Rovers’ back four.

And Jones is one of those backing his young defensive partner to shine this season.

“Luke has got an awful lot to give, not just to this club but to football,” Jones said.

“He’s a young boy but he’s played for his country and numerous times at U21 level.

“He’s got pace and power, he’s good in the air, very accomplished on the ball.

“When he came in as my replacement last year he did very well.

“I think he will learn things from me and I’ll probably learn things from him as long as we try and form that partnership together.

“With Jamie McCombe on his way back, the three of us fighting for those spots is healthy.”

Jones seems likely to miss tonight’s trip to York in the Capital One Cup as Dickov seeks to ease him back into action after almost ten months out.

In that case Liam Wakefield – who last week signed a new one-year deal – will partner McCullough at the back.

The former Manchester United trainee made his international debut for Northern Ireland prior to the World Cup in friendlies against Uruguay and Chile, performances for which he earned rave reviews.

And Rovers boss Dickov is delighted with the manner McCullough has returned to his club.

Dickov said: “He was outstanding against some top quality opposition.

“He came back with a real spring in his step and an attitude that he wants to make that shirt his own.

“Luke is potentially a top, top player.

“He needs to realise now he’s a first team player.

“Having Rob’s experience alongside him is only going to help.”