Former Leeds United players Simon Grayson and Jonathan Woodgate are favourites to replace Richie Wellens as Doncaster Rovers manager

Simon Grayson and Jonathan Woodgate are rated by the bookmakers as strong candidates in Doncaster Rovers’ hunt for a new permanent head coach.

By Flora Snelson
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:56 pm

Doncaster parted ways with Richi Wellens on Thursday after the former Rovers player oversaw just three wins in his 19-game tenure, leaving the South Yorkshire side second from bottom in the League One table.

While they search for Wellens’ successor, Doncaster have appointed Gary McSheffrey as caretaker manager, a former Leeds United loanee who scored one goal for the Whites after he joined the club midway through their promotion-winning season in 2010.

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At 8/1, the manager who oversaw Leeds’ escape from League One is tipped to take up the post permanently at the Keepmoat Stadium. Head coach for three seasons, Grayson is the fifth most successful Whites manager of the last thirty years, winning nearly 50% of his games in charge.

Since leaving Leeds, the Yorkshireman has achieved two more League One promotions with Huddersfield Town and Preston North End. The 51-year-old recently left his role as manager of Rovers' relegation rivals Fleetwood Town after the Lancashire side went eight games without a win.

Also at 8/1, former Whites’ academy star Jonathan Woodgate is tipped to fill the Doncaster vacancy. The defender racked up 105 appearances for Leeds before being sold to Newcastle for £12m in 2003.

Since retiring from playing, Woodgate earned his coaching spurs at Middlesborough, where he began his career aged 13. Earlier this year, the 41-year-old coached Bournemouth to the Championship play-off semi-finals, where the Cherries fell to defeat at the hands of Brentford. Since Scott Parker succeeded him at the Vitality stadium in June, Woodgate has been a free agent.

Jonathan Woodgate challenges Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the air at Elland Road in September 2002. Pic: Paul Barker

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Former Leeds United head coach Simon Grayson. Pic: Paul Ellis
Former Bournemouth head coach Jonathan Woodgate. Pic: Alex Pantling