Doncaster Rovers confirm retained list with star player offered deal

Eco - Power Stadium, Doncaster, England - 23rd March 2024 Hakeeb Adelakun (47) of Doncaster Rovers - during the game Doncaster Rovers v Forest Green, Sky Bet League Two, 2023/24, Eco - Power Stadium, Doncaster, England - 23rd March 2024 Credit: Arthur Haigh/WhiteRosePhotos/Alamy Live News
Hakeeb Adelakun playing for Doncaster Rovers at the Eco-Power Stadium. Photo: WhiteRosePhotos / Alamy Stock Photo

League Two side Doncaster Rovers have confirmed their end of season retained and released list, with on-loan winger Hakeeb Adelakun offered a deal to sign for the club on a permanent basis. 

The 27-year-old, who signed for Rovers in January on loan from League One outfit Lincoln City, has been on fine form since making the temporary switch to South Yorkshire.

Having since been released by the Imps, in 19 appearances, Adelakun has gone on to find the back of the net on nine occasions, assisting on a further seven occasions as he helped Grant McCann’s side reached the play-offs after finishing the regular season in fifth.

Previously speaking on Adelakun’s future and potentially looking at bringing him into the club permanently, Rovers boss McCann had signalled that the winger was enjoying his football whilst on loan with the club.

“We know what Haks (Adelakun) is capable of and what he can bring and how he can do it in our team,” he said.

“We just want him to continue doing it. He’s enjoying it, he has a smile on his face and he’s trying things that he probably wouldn’t normally try at other clubs. We like that.”

In the play-offs, having being 2-0 up in the first leg, Doncaster’s lead would evaporate, as two goals in the first 16 minutes saw their opponents, Crewe Alexandra, draw level in the tie.

With the tie level at 2-2, the fixture went to penalties, with the former Hull City man seeing his penalty saved by Crewe goalkeeper Max Stryjek in the shootout, sending the Railwaymen to Wembley for the final where they will play Crawley Town for a place in League One.

Alongside Adelakun, manager McCann has also offered fresh terms to fellow winger Luke Molyneux, who racked up nine goals and eight assists in 45 league matches for Rovers this season.

Central midfielder Harrison Biggins is the only other Rovers player to be offered a new deal at the club, whilst Deji Sotona, who is still under contract, is the only contracted player to be placed on the transfer list.

Some of the players that are confirmed to not be offered new deals and will be leaving the club include strikers Max Biamou and Caolan Lavery, alongside winger Jon Taylor.

Tommy Rowe, Charlie Seaman, Liam Ravenhill and Ben Bottomley will also be leaving the Eco-Power Stadium upon the expiration of their contracts.

Bobby Faulkner, Jack Degruchy and Tavonga Kuleya have had options exercised in their deals, whilst Ben Close, James Maxwell, Zain Westbrooke and Richard Wood have already signed new contracts with the club.

Conor Carty, Matthew Craig, Thimothée Lo-Tutala, Tom Nixon and Billy Waters have also returned to their parent clubs following their loan spell coming to an end. 

Attention for McCann is now on next season and for the players that are under contract, the Northern Irishman has fired a warning towards his squad that if they are not ready or hungry to challenge at the top end of League Two next season, they won’t be at the club.

“Players didn’t manage themselves properly over the summer and came back using pre-season trying to get fit,” explained McCann.

“Half the group wasn’t fit, there were players training with lots of niggles, hence why we had 14, 15 injuries at the time.

“The players will be made very clear that if they aren’t fit in the summer, they’ll be surplus to requirements because there’s no way we’re going through that and putting our fans through what we saw in the first three or four months of (last) season.

“Some of the players have got a decision to make. If they’re not ready to win the league, don’t come back.”