Doncaster Rovers have enjoyed an excellent start to the League 1 season, with the Yorkshire club sitting in 7th place in the early table having taken 15 points from their opening eight fixtures, and they could even climb higher if they win the games in hand they have over the teams above them.
That strong start to the season is even more remarkable considering the summer of upheaval endured at the Keepmoat Stadium, with manager Grant McCann leaving the club to take charge of Championship side Hull City, after guiding Rovers to the League 1 play-offs semi-finals, where they were beaten by eventual play-off winners Charlton Athletic, in his first and last season in charge of the club last term.
There were also key players who followed McCann in departing Doncaster during the transfer window, with top scorer and influential presence John Marquis joining League 1 rivals Portsmouth and the impressive duo of Herbie Kane and Mallik Wilks leaving at the end of their respective loan spells from Liverpool and Leeds United.
To compensate Doncaster brought in Darren Moore following the former Derby County defender’s departure from West Bromwich Albion during the second half of the season last year, and the 45-year-old in just his second full season in club management has proven to be an astute appoitment so far by Rovers’ owners.
Perhaps Moore’s successful start to life at the Keepmoat Stadium should not come as too much as a surprise, given he was undoubtedly harshly sacked by West Brom last term, despite managing to stabilise the club following relegation from the Premier League and getting them all but assured of a play-off place by the time he left the club.
However, a play-off place was not thought to be good enough by West Brom’s board who had been hoping that the club could secure automatic promotion, and so Moore was left needing to find a new challenge in the summer to continue his burgeoning managerial reputation.
There was perhaps some surprise to see him elected to take on the challenge of Doncaster this summer, but in reality it is turning out to be a very wise choice from the former West Brom boss, with expectations considerably lower at the Yorkshire club especially considering the departures of key figures which is maybe much more suited to a manager just starting out in his career.
Moore was used to winning games at West Brom, having guided the club to 17 wins in their opening 36 matches last term before he was sacked, and he has so far continued that trend in his opening eight matches in charge of Doncaster managing to record four wins and three draws, with just a single defeat at home to Blackpool the only negative.
However, one thing that held him back at West Brom last term was his side dropping points at home on regular basis, but that is something that apart from the defeat against Blackpool looks like not being an issue for him at Doncaster, with Rovers already recording impressive statement victories at the Keepmoat against local rivals Rotherham United and then the 2-0 success against in-form Peterborough United on Saturday.
Another area of early improvement from Moore at Doncaster has been the way in which he has managed to find the right balance between providing an attacking threat and keeping games tight in defence, with Rovers conceding just seven league goals so far, which is only behind league leaders Ipswich and also scoring eleven goals in their first eight league games.
That suggests he has learnt from his spell in charge of West Brom, where last term his side struggled to keep clean sheets and were guilty of conceding far too many goals, but also capable of scoring almost at will at the other end of the pitch at times, finding the right balance within your side is vital for teams to enjoy success and Moore is showing signs of being able to do just that.
In appointing a young and hungry manager Doncaster have provided themselves with the ideal candidate to help the club move on from the summer departures and once again mount another play-off push this term.