Cooke in mix at Dons

Hot shot: Billy Sharp, left, celebrates his winner against Leicester City at the Keepmoat Stadium
Hot shot: Billy Sharp, left, celebrates his winner against Leicester City at the Keepmoat Stadium
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DONS’ head coach Tony Miller unveiled Paul Cooke as the mystery Super League star that he was hoping to bring to the Championship One club, if a way could be found to fund the deal.

Miller, who I rate as one of the best coaches outside of Super League, and a top man to boot, called a fans’ meeting at the Keepmoat Stadium to see if they would be prepared to help fund a Development Officer’s job at the club.

Miller told the meeting that the 30 year-old half-back, who is keen to get back into the game after a 12-month lay-off, would make a massive difference to the club’s 2012 Championship One prospects were they to get him on board.

Conditioner Pete Bell, also well known in local amateur boxing circles, told me that the backroom staff had all agreed to donate £100 to the fund and pledge £10 a week.

WEDNESDAY: DONCASTER Rovers produced a battling performance in their 2-1 FA Youth Cup third round tie defeat against Chelsea at Staines.

Being a top Premier League side with vast financial resources, Chelsea can compete with the biggest clubs in the world when it comes to signing top youngsters and it is a fair bet to say that a number of the players who lined up against Rovers will go on to become famous across the globe.

To hold such a star-studded side to a one-goal margin reflects great credit on both the Rovers’ youngsters and the coaching staff at the club.

I know some people have been critical of the fact that no one has come through from the youth ranks since Paul Green almost a decade ago, but there looks to be some good youngsters in the pipeline.

James Husband recently signed a 30-month deal and I’d be surprised if one or two more players weren’t signed in the next six months.

THURSDAY: FORMER BDO World darts champion John ‘Boy’ Walton did the honours at the annual Bentley Ladies’ Thursday Night Charity Darts League presentation evening at the Co-op Club.

John had promised league secretary Cynthia Bunting that he would make the presentations last year only to be beaten by the wintry weather.

But he proved true to his word when travelling up M1 this year.

I had a long chat with John, who is happy with his form less than a month before he begins his quest for a second World title at the Lakeside Country Club.

He was happy to talk about some of the other seeded players and what it is like to play at the Lakeside. John has lived in Sheffield for the last 15 years but hails from Bradford.

Barnbrough Ladies’ Choir providing the entertainment.

Earlier in the day the majority of the Doncaster Rovers’ contracted players had visited Doncaster Children’s Hospital, despite it being their day off.

The papers are often full of stories showing professional footballers in an unfavourable light, but I can’t speak highly enough of the players who have been at the club in recent years.

They are a credit to both themselves and the club and perfect role models for youngsters with aspirations to become professional footballers.

SATURDAY: DONCASTER Rovers are possibly within one game of climbing out of the Championship relegation zone after beating big-spending Leicester City 2-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Sam Hird produced another impressive show in the back-four but it was Billy Sharp who stole the show with two second half goals in three minutes - the second of which was a top-drawer effort.

The Rovers’ players held their Christmas party that evening - manager Dean Saunders bemoaning the fact that he hadn’t been invited, during the post-match press conference.

Doncaster Knights lost interest in the British & Irish Cup after suffering a stoppage-time 20-16 defeat at home to Swansea in their final pool game.

I dropped in on Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club’s annual Chistmas Party for an hour later on the evening and was surprised to learn from an Owls’ fan at the event that Rovers’ media manager Steve Uttley and myself had been spotted laughing and joking for several minutes in the background while a Birmingham fan was being interviewed at St Andrews the previous weekend for a Sky Sports show shown earlier today.

SUNDAY: DONCASTER Knights’ boss Brett Davey was critical of the attitude of some of his players in the Swansea defeat when we spoke.

It is the first time that he has had a go at his players since taking over from Lynn Howells in the summer.

My wife Isobel and I were invited join chief executive Carl Hall, head coach Tony Miller and the backrooom staff and their partners at the Dons’ Christmas party at a Turkish restaurant in town.

We were joined by Mick ‘George’ Geohagan and his wife Margaret.

I’d not seen George, who travelled on the Dons’ team coach for many years and is the sort who would do anything for anybody, for a few years.

Although he’s been having a tough time off it in recent months with health problems, George looked well and was on top form.