New look at Rovers

Rovers defender Mustapha Dumbuya models the kit for the 2011/12 season.
Rovers defender Mustapha Dumbuya models the kit for the 2011/12 season.

DONCASTER Rovers are hoping to sign two key defenders before the end of the month after making a six-figure bid for one player and holding talks with another.

After finishing fourth from the bottom last season with the worst defensive record for 13 years, manager Sean O’Driscoll has made strengthening the back line a priority during the close season.

Rovers defender Mustapha Dumbuya models the kit for the 2011/12 season.

Rovers defender Mustapha Dumbuya models the kit for the 2011/12 season.

Signing a centre back is top of the list after Wayne Thomas, Byron Webster and Dennis Souza were all released at the end of the campaign.

And the Doncaster boss seems keen to acquire a defensive leader with one of the players having captained his previous clubs.

Neither man has been named but Rovers are sure to face stiff competition for both players with a higher status club believed to be bidding against them for the younger of the two.

Rovers have also identified a striker and two midfield players they would like to sign and are still pursuing a deal for last season’s loan star Ryan Mason from Tottenham.

But the two defenders are the immediate priority after conceding 81 goals last season - their worst since they were relegated from the Football League in the disastrous 1997-98 campaign.

With season ticket sales standing at only around 3,500 so far it had been feared that Rovers might cut back on the budget for players.

But chairman John Ryan said: “That’s not going to happen and you won’t be surprised I’m not one of the doom and gloom merchants who are saying we are favourites to go down.

“Obviously we need the season ticket sales to go much higher and, if that happens, more money may be made available to Sean.

“I know family finances are tight and it’s a lot of money to fork out.

“But, if you are a fan, buying a season ticket is the best thing you can do to support the club.

“Sean and the management team have identified several players they would like to sign and I’m very confident that we will have a much better season and might even surprise one or two people.”

Ryan said the club had extended the offer to buy season tickets at reduced prices by another five days to June 24 and urged fans to take advantage of the cut price deal.

The Rovers chief added that the club had responded to suggestions from fans about the design of the new Nike first team kit (pictured here) which goes on sale today with the club shop staying open from 10am to 7pm tonight for those wanting to wear it first.

Rovers will wear red socks and shorts, instead of black, next season and subtle changes have been made to the shirt to incorporate black edgings, while the hoops go almost all the way round at the back.

Club shop manager Tracy Fernie said: “We’ve listened to the fans so I hope they come and buy it.

“We’re expecting a bit of an early rush for Father’s Day.

“The players who have seen it, and tried it, like it as well and that’s good because it’s how they play in it that’s most important.”

n Rovers fixtures are released tomorrow and our website will contain details of the early games and derby clashes from 9am.