The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

PAUL DICKOV was clearly strug­gling at Don­caster. Six points from six games, bar­racked by the fans, pil­lo­ried for neg­a­tive tac­tics.

Watch­ing the footage from Donny’s dis­mal de­feat at Gilling­ham – as an­gry fans queued up to yell abuse – it was hard to see a rosy fu­ture.

So it has proved. The Scot was sacked on Tues­day, 18 months af­ter over­see­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the Cham­pi­onship.

Fan re­ac­tion has been am­biva­lent; near uni­ver­sal de­light at the dis­missal of a man­ager few trusted to bring pro­mo­tion tem­pered by sad­ness at the demise of a like­able char­ac­ter.

With gates start­ing to dwin­dle, it was a prag­matic de­ci­sion.

Whether it was the cor­rect one re­mains to be seen – but, per­son­ally, I strug­gle to see the logic in fir­ing a man­ager just af­ter the trans­fer win­dow has closed.

Don­caster signed six play­ers this sum­mer, plus another two on loan. All but a hand­ful of the squad ar e Dickov’s men. Now, who­ever comes in is go­ing to be sad­dled with a group of play­ers he nei­ther signed nor par­tic­u­larly wants.

Hav­ing backed Dickov, why not give him un­til Novem­ber?

At least that way Don­caster’s di­rec­tors would know for sure whether the team has been sim­ply slow to gel or the curr ent prob­lems are more deep-seated.

If they are, no sweat – there’s still time to r es­cue the sit­u­a­tion.

If they aren’t, you’re a pa­tient vi­sion­ary who just saved the club a hat­ful of compo and an ex­pen­sive squad over­haul.

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