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Doncaster Rovers: Fiery atmosphere brings out the best in Leeds United loanee Mallik Wilks admits Grant McCann

Grant McCann has confessed a fiery atmosphere does bring out the best in on loan striker Mallik Wilks.

The Leeds United forward was back to his best on Saturday as Doncaster Rovers comfortably swept aside Walsall, scoring a goal and grabbing an assist in what was an ill-tempered affair at the Banks’ Stadium.

Mallik Wilks

Mallik Wilks

McCann insists he will not attempt to influence the 19-year-old to lose the edge from his game.

But the Rovers boss is encouraging Wilks to make more sensible decisions on the pitch.

“Mallik is a young boy who likes to play up to the crowd and it spurs him on a bit,” McCann said.

“But he needs to be careful. He was on the verge of getting booked until I told him to sprint quicker when he was coming off.

“We don’t need needless bookings like that.

“But if he keeps delivering performances like that, he can walk off backwards if he wants.

“I’m not bothered.”

Arguably the most surprising element of Wilks’ performance against Walsall was the assist he laid on for James Coppinger’s sublime finish.

Winning the ball back deep in Rovers territory, he embarked on a surging run to the edge of the Walsall box and – with most expecting him to shoot – he slipped a sideways pass to Coppinger who curled a shot in off the bar.

McCann insists he would not have reprimanded Wilks for going for goal despite having better options in Coppinger and John Marquis either side of him.

And he says the whole move demonstrated that the young forward is improving and maturing.

“I’ll never take that away from him,” McCann said.

“If he'd have had a shot it wouldn't have bothered me.

“I like my centre forwards being ruthless and clinical.

“I think they can be even more ruthless and clinical.

“You could see when he won the ball back 30 yards from his own goal, the pace the strength, the directness of him to drive forward, get away from people and pick the right pass.

“It's something he knows he may need to get better at but he's showed that he's getting better and improving.”