DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders is looking to sign tough-tackling midfielder Paul Keegan on a rolling contract before tomorrow’s first pre-season friendly at Cleethorpes Town.
The Irishman missed most of last season with a succession of knee and related problems, but did enough to impress Saunders in his limited appearances and in training.
“We are in negotiations with Paul about a rolling contract which will cover us against a recurrence of his injury problems,” said Saunders, who feels the former Irish League star possesses the battling qualities he will need in League One.
“The rolling contract isn’t a problem and I understand the club’s position,” said the 28 year-old Keegan.
“I’ve been in the gym every day during the summer strengthening the knee and it’s fine.
“I trained with the club yesterday for the first time and hopefully something can be sorted out because I like it here and I’d like to stay on.”
Keegan is the only player in the dozen or so players who were out of contract at the end of the season likely to still be at the club at the start of the 2012-13 season with Saunders again ruling out the possibility of Simon Gillett returning.
“He’s been offered a deal by Portsmouth that we can’t match,” said Saunders.
Saunders, meanwhile, has made an offer for two other players and is hopeful of a successful conclusion. He is desperate to add to his squad as quickly as possible.
With James O’Connor, James Coppinger, Chris Brown and Tommy Spurr, all sitting out training yesterday with little niggles, Saunders was forced to draft in four first-year youth team players to enable his squad to take part in a couple of short 11 versus 11 games.
Saunders has brought in several trialists, including Greg McDermott - released by Newcastle at the end of last season - and is expected to give a run out to several more in tomorrow’s game in order to field two different sides.
“The plan is not to play anyone more than 45 minutes tomorrow but some may have to play a little bit longer because we are down on numbers,” he said.
Despite continuing speculation linking skipper Brian Stock with a move to Burnley, Saunders again claimed that no-one had spoken to him about the midfielder.
“The only manager I have spoken to about players is Charlton’s Chris Powell, who asked me about several players and he never came back,” he said.