After a 6-0 drubbing away at Portman Road, it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary for Richie Wellens to walk or get his marching orders from the powers that be at Doncaster. With Wellens speaking of going if the players didn’t have his back, the experienced head of Tommy Rowe has come out in vocal support to quell any bad blood in the dressing room.
After such a humiliation, it would have been easy for the likes of Rowe to hide away and lick his wounds before Doncaster next play. Instead, speaking with The Doncaster Free Press, the midfielder turned full-back showed his vocal support for the under fire head coach: “I’m wholeheartedly behind him and that’s on us tonight. This was not a reflection of the manager, Saturday was a reflection of the manager, going down fighting till the end playing good football. I won’t go into what’s been said behind closed doors, for me he is the right man and I have just reiterated that to the lads.”
A former captain of Rovers in a previous spell, Rowe has led by example here in vocally backing a manager the Doncaster hierarchy will be growing impatient with. The fight mentioned by Tommy Rowe didn’t end in anything materialising in Saturday’s match, Ryan Lowe’s Plymouth securing a last gasp win to leave Doncaster with nothing. Even if the players believe in Wellens as Rowe states, the lack of points leaves them rooted at the bottom of League One. Their only win coming against Morecambe, Tommy Rowe coincidentally the only goalscorer in a 1-0 success.
Even with positively backing his manager in an insecure position, there was no hiding away from the Ipswich embarrassment from Rowe himself: “We’ve let all of the fans down that have come here. It was a totally embarrassing performance, it’s probably one of the worst defeats of my career. No one played well and we’re not kidding in there saying we have, we let each other down but more importantly we let the fans down.”
This led to Wellens and co personally refunding supporters who travelled down to Suffolk, only to exit Portman Road aggrieved.
Not one to get weighed down by the doom and gloom at The Keepmoat, Rowe signalled ahead to MK Dons at home with a need to win back doubters of Richie Wellens and the team: “We can’t be like that for Saturday, we need to come back and show a response. We have to take ownership.”
Taking ownership for the demise is one thing, putting in an impressive performance against a flying MK Dons side is certainly another.
Wellens’ style of football is certainly something that should be praised, playing out from the back a trademark of a Richie Wellens side and won him plaudits at Swindon. However, there’s a naivety to Doncaster this season that needs to be addressed. In a league that requires commitment and physicality in order to gain points, Wellens’ men are lacking that required grit.
The under fire manager isn’t the only reason for their dreadful opening to the season, Doncaster unravelling completely after Darren Moore left for Hillsborough last campaign which has seeped into the now. Moreover, the talents that propelled Rovers to unlikely playoff pushes are long gone – Mallik Wilks departing some time ago. It could well be a long season down at The Keepmoat, time will tell if Richie Wellens is the preferred option to save this sinking ship.