Darren Ferguson And Doncaster League One Previewby Mike Holden / 24 July 2017, 10:32Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Darren Ferguson and Doncaster ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.
Darren Ferguson kept his promise following relegation 15 months ago, delivering promotion back to League One at the first time of asking. But the season finished on a sour note as Donny squandered a six-point cushion in the remaining five games after securing automatic promotion. Runaway leaders for most of the campaign, they could only finish third. A more relaxed approach can be expected this time around. Promotion to the Championship within two to three years is the next target, meaning the next ten months are essentially an opportunity to experiment.
Ferguson is a technical and tactical engineer. He loves to break things down into small pieces and put them back together, usually in functioning better than they were before. It’s an outlook that applies to both players and systems. He loves working one on one with players, improving individual aspects of their game, and he lives to unlock potential. Likewise, his ability to prepare a team that surprises opponents by changing formation several times in the same game is almost unrivalled.
"We always look to develop players. Regardless of age, it’s my job to do enough work with them to help them improve. It’s a massive part of your job, I’ve always felt that, and the players certainly appreciate it. Last year, I don’t think we had enough pace in certain areas of the pitch. I always felt we needed an injection of pace. Alex Kiwomya is the quickest player I’ve seen in a long time. He’s lightning. He will give us that out-and-out pace now."
Ferguson finds himself in a better position now than he would have been had he avoided the drop two seasons ago. In that scenario, talk of bringing Championship football to the Keepmoat would have started much sooner but this is essentially a blank-canvas campaign with no explicit concrete objective. As such, he can indulge himself in the fine detail until his heart's content - providing the drop zone stays at arm’s length. The obligation to compete for prizes will probably return next summer.
Prediction: bottom half