With Doncaster Rovers hovering one place above the League One drop zone, the task facing Darren Ferguson will be no walk in the park. Sports writer Paul Goodwin takes a look at four things that he must address as a matter of urgency.
Rovers have won five of their last 24 matches in League One. That’s nowhere near good enough.
Aspirations have to be raised and standards both in training and on matchday simply must improve - or this season will quickly fizzle out, or worse.
If Rovers have genuine ambitions of reaching the top six then losing has to hurt more and players must become more culpable for mistakes or poor performances.
That’s not to say the new man has to rule with an iron fist, but a ruthless streak should help the situation.
This team does not know how to win games. It is out of the habit of winning, and that needs to change.
Goals, goals, goals
(or rather the lack of them)
With nine league goals to their name this season, Doncaster are among the lowest scorers in the Football League.
Only Preston North End and Newport County have scored fewer.
Things have improved. Rovers scored six in Rob Jones’ four league games in interim charge, compared with three in the previous seven.
The new boss has to build on that and must find a way of creating more chances for marquee signing Andy Williams, who is yet to score from open play in League One this season.
Get the balance right
James Coppinger, Richie Wellens, Harry Forrester, Cameron Stewart; Rovers’ squad in recent years has had its fair share of ‘luxury players’.
The problem is how to accommodate them?
Paul Dickov tried umpteen formations but struggled to get that balance right. Without the shield of Paul Keegan in midfield his side tended to struggle.
Finding the right mix of defensive solidity and attacking flair has to be a priority for his predecessor.
The full back problem
For a club with Rovers’ ambitions, starting the season without a recognised senior right back has proven to be a massive oversight.
Reece Wabara would walk into this team.
And, with Aaron Taylor-Sinclair struggling to convince at left back, Enda Stevens would not be far behind him either.
On-loan teenager James Horsfield is not a defender by trade and asking him to plug the gap on the right seemed a rather hopeful plan.
The new man might be able to conjure up something in the loan market - or might even consider playing three centre backs instead.