Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Robinson tops Doncaster Rovers wanted list but boss 'happy' at Motherwell

Stephen Robinson
Stephen Robinson
Sympathy: Stephen Robinson feels bad for Oran Kearney

By Steven Beacom

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson is on the shortlist to replace former Northern Ireland team-mate Grant McCann at League One side Doncaster Rovers.

Robinson, 44, still has eight months left on his contract with Motherwell where he has worked wonders since being appointed as their manager two years ago.

In his first full season he stunned Scottish football by guiding the Steelmen to the Scottish Cup and League Cup finals, losing on both occasions to Brendan Rodgers' Celtic.

The ex-Luton Town and Bournemouth player, who coached Northern Ireland in the Euro 2016 finals, has developed a strong reputation at Fir Park for working expertly within a tight budget and developing young players, many of whom move on to bigger clubs for a healthy profit.

That has sparked Doncaster's interest after McCann moved to Championship team Hull City last week.

Rovers, who lost to Charlton in the League One play-off semi-finals last season, are planning to appoint a new manager early next month.

Robinson is currently in the middle of a training camp in Northern Ireland with Motherwell, who played their first pre-season game last night, losing 1-0 to Crusaders at Seaview.

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Asked about how he views his future yesterday, Robinson stated: "The football club have been very good to me. They have given me an opportunity and I have a brilliant relationship with the board and Alan Burrows, the chief executive.

"It doesn't always happen at football clubs but the board totally support me at Motherwell and the chief executive wants you to do well."

Robinson added: “Also I’m very happy with the group of staff I have here.

“Obviously I’m ambitious and I want to take Motherwell forward. I’m happy where I am at this moment in time. I have eight months left on my contract and we’ll sit down and see where we are.”

While Robinson — whose side were beaten 1-0 by Crusaders in a friendly at Seaview last night —may have a big decision to make in the coming week, Oran Kearney’s departure from St Mirren was finally confirmed yesterday.

The former Linfield ace produced a miracle by keeping the Paisley club up but his relationship with the chairman Gordon Scott broke down over Kearney continuing to commute to Northern Ireland to spend time with his family.

Robinson said: “I get on well with Oran and think he is a very good manager. St Mirren are a good football club with fans who are very supportive. It’s disappointing that it hasn’t worked out for whatever reason.”

Former club Coleraine would love Kearney to return to the hotseat at the Showgrounds, but what about going back to manage in Scotland one day?

Robinson said: “Oran would have to make that decision family wise. That’s a big factor. Certainly he has the ability to do it. He kept St Mirren up and did a very good job. This season would have been a big one for him but it hasn’t quite happened. Maybe there is still a hunger to do that.”

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