Deal reached in row over Rovers training

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DONCASTER Rovers were yesterday at loggerheads with bosses who run the Keepmoat Stadium over access to the pitch for training.

Chairman John Ryan said there was “ill feeling” between the club and the stadium management company after the team was refused permission to train on the pitch on Friday ahead of the game with Cardiff City on Saturday.

But, by late yesterday afternoon, an agreement had been reached over the row.

Rovers are currently nine points and two places above the relegation zone in the Championship and are keen not to lose the game against 2009 FA Cup finalists City, who are third in the table.

Mr Ryan said: “We have a crucial game against Cardiff and want to train on the pitch on Friday.

“I find it unbelievable that stadium management company manager Shane Chalmers has said we can’t train on the pitch, taking into account we pay £1 million in rent. I think it’s a provocative move.

“We have a very good training ground, but anyone who knows anything about football knows training on the pitch before a game is something home advantage is all about.

“It has created a lot of ill feeling.”

He said the team had already trained on the pitch on a number of occasions this season.

A statement from Rovers said no reason for the decision had been given, other than it would not be fair on the Doncaster rugby league club.

It added: “At a time when the club is coming to the end of a difficult season, it is bizarre that the SMC should choose to be as obstructive and unhelpful as this.”

But, by 5pm, a compromise had been reached, and the club and stadium released a joint press release.

A spokesman for the stadium management company said: “The SMC are totally behind Doncaster Rovers’ bid for success within the Npower Championship and support all the stadium’s tenants wherever possible.

“After discussions with Doncaster Rovers this afternoon a decision was made to allow the first team to train on the main pitch this Friday in this instance. The quality of the playing surface ahead of our weekend fixture is our main priority.”

Dave Morris, Doncaster Rovers’ chief executive, said: “We’re glad that the situation has been resolved and appreciate the co-operation of the stadium management company.”

The stadium is owned by Doncaster Council and run by the arms length management organisation.

The council spent £32 million on developing the 15,000 seater venue, expanding it from the originally planned 10,000 seats at the request of Mr Ryan.

Rovers moved from their previous Belle Vue stadium at the end of 2006.