HARRY Kewell was a happy man after seeing his Latics side progress to the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy with a game to spare.

Second-half goals from strike duo Danny Rowe and Zak Dearnley were enough for a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers that backed up the opening victory against Wolves’ Under-21s.

It means Latics have already qualified with their final Group F to come at Bradford City on November 10.

“I’m very pleased with the performance,” said Kewell.

“I thought the players showed character, fighting spirit, they were tough, they worked hard and that’s a good Doncaster team.

“They’re a passing team who use the ball well. First half I think we both had our chances and you always felt whoever scored first was going to fully take control of the game.

“It was just as well that we got it.

“The players worked well as a unit, there were a few little spats there but you like that because it means there is passion there.”

Kewell switched things around with five changes including a full debut for Dylan Bahamboula who had made such an impact off the bench against Colchester last time out in League Two.

In something of a quirk, on-loan goalkeeper Ian Lawlor was also given permission to line up against his parent club.

It was the visitors who were quicker out of the blocks with Cameron John and James Coppinger both going close, the latter direct from a corner.

Latics’ first sight of goal came the way of Bobby Grant who fired wide after good work from Jordan Barnett.

Lawlor then proved his worth before first denying Madger Gomes at the other end before a brilliant save kept out a header from Arsenal loanee Tyreece John-Jules.

Dearnley, on as a half-time substitute for Bahamboula, came close at the start of the second period but headed Grant’s cross wide.

Rowe was then in on the action with a free-kick that was saved by Louis Jones.

It was far from one-way traffic though with Sido Jombati clearing off the line at the other end after John-Jules’ effort had beaten Lawlor.

The breakthrough came midway through the second half and it was another Rowe free-kick with this one from 25 yards proving too good for Jones.

Carl Piergianni then blocked Ed Williams’ effort before Latics wrapped things up and made sure of qualification four minutes from time.

Ben Garrity was the provider after good work down the left with Dearnley firing into the top corner from the edge of the area.