Donny Sharp-en up Dickov's options

Friday 24th January 2014 14:23

Billy Sharp: A firm favourite at Donny

Billy Sharp: A firm favourite at Donny

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Doncaster FanZoner Rich Colby has praised the club's latest recruits and is thrilled at the return of a fan favourite to The Keepmoat.

What a difference three weeks makes.

After my last blog, where Doncaster were knocked out of the FA Cup to Stevenage, alongside having nine potential first-team regulars on the treatment table, and dropping into the Championship relegation zone, things are looking up a bit.

After the Stevenage debacle, Paul Dickov said that things were going to change. And my they have. Dickov, alongside the board have worked extremely hard over the last three weeks to bring in the kind of players capable of keeping Doncaster in the Championship.

Richie Wellens was the first to sign on the dotted line for a further 18 months at the Keepmoat. Wellens originally re-signed for the club in the summer on a short-term deal and proved that he still has what it takes at this level. Many could argue that he has probably been Rovers best player this season so far.

Other clubs were certainly interested, QPR being one of them, but Wellens chose happiness and a longer-term contract with Doncaster, which is nice to see in the modern era.

Further signings followed with Abdoulaye Meite and Gabriel Tamas signing for the rest of the season to plug the leaky cauldron usually known as a defence. Both are proven at this level and above with West Bromwich Albion and will add that extra bit of defensive quality needed to survive in the Championship.

Key players have returned to the squad and settled back in straight away such as James Husband and Paul Keegan.

In a way I felt a little sorry for Enda Stevens who came in on loan from Aston Villa and did a good job at left back, but he simply isn't James Husband.

Husband is just as effective in a left-sided midfield role as he is at left-back. When you combine these two traits you have a player who will cause opposition right-midfielders and right-backs problems all day long.

Keegan came back into the side in time for the game against Wigan, where Rovers produced probably their most complete performance of the season. I've said it for a long time, and people have took some convincing, Doncaster Rovers are a better side when Paul Keegan is playing. In his defensive midfield role he does all the work that goes unnoticed by many. He picks apart opposition attacks for fun and allows new attacks for his side to begin. Keegan can play a bit too, picking out a fantastic pass for Chris Brown to score the first goal against Wigan. But the job Keegan does in the current Rovers team allows players like Wellens to go and do what he does best - dictate play further up the field. When Paul Keegan isn't in the side Wellens has to try and do both jobs, which he can't.

Wednesday 22nd January will go down as a day with Doncaster fans where Paul Dickov delivered the ultimate signing. The search for a striker has been on for a while. Every man and his dog knows its what we have needed for most of the season.

Names were branded around for weeks in Nick Proschwitz, Matt Derbyshire and Matty Fryatt but Dickov publicly stated that he was looking long term than a quick fix.

Further interviews followed and in one in particular Dickov delivered an interesting quote, "If I get the player I want, nobody will be disappointed". To me, and to many other Rovers fans this pointed to one player. But were the fans and Dickov on the same page? Potential excitement built and sure enough at 5pm it was confirmed that Billy Sharp would return to Doncaster Rovers for a third spell.

Anyone not associated with Rovers probably wouldn't understand, but Sharp is the darling of the Keepmoat. A ratio of one goal in every two games in his previous spells at the club, alongside the pride and passion he showed whenever he wore the Rovers shirt instantly connected him with the fans. Sharp once scored a goal against Blackpool, ran to the fans, and took a big bite out of somebody's hot-dog. Who wouldn't love him after that?

The club was there for him too under the most tragic circumstances back in 2011 after the death of his two-day old son Luey. Sharp bravely played for Rovers the day after the tragic event, scored the first goal against Middlesbrough and displayed his tee-shirt simply saying 'Thats For You Son'. I, just like many other supporters was absolutely heartbroken for him.

Sharp was transferred to Southampton that same season and duly fired them to the Premier League. Since then he has spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest and Reading and continued to do what he does best - score goals. So his return to the Keepmoat (alongside players coming back into the side and the new recruits) has given the whole place a huge lift.

Through all the excitement though, I still hope that the fans don't produce over expectation. The goal this season is still to remain a Championship club after 46 games. Lets build from there.

Recently some sections of the Rovers support stated that the board dont have the ambition to stay in this league. Wellens, Meite, Tamas and Sharp seems like a pretty bold statement to me. Well done to them, and well done to Dickov. Now its time to take these highs on to the field and put a good run together.

A local reporter asked Billy Sharp this week if he was looking forward to his first game back at the Keepmoat next Tuesday against Charlton. Sharp simply replied that he was looking forward to eating a few more hot-dogs at Blackpool on Saturday first.

You can follow Rich on Twitter at @rich_colby - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.



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