DONCASTER Rovers manager Dean Saunders has expressed his delight at persuading Habib Beye to extend his stay at the South Yorkshire club.
The veteran defender, who joined Rovers on a short-term deal from Aston Villa in November, has finally put pen to paper on an 18-month deal.
“I’m delighted he’s done it,” said Saunders. “He’s a very good player who has captained his country.”
The club are still awaiting clearance from the Premier League, but they expect that to have come through in time for Beye, currently serving a three-match ban after being sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Bristol City last month, to be available for the home game against Peterborough at the end of the month.
However Rovers look to have missed out on West Ham United striker Frederic Piquionne.
Rovers had been hoping to sign the Frenchman, currently out of favour at Upton Park, on loan until the end of the season.
But Saunders said yesterday: “He would have been a great signing for us but it is not looking like it is going to happen.
“But you never know in football; we had a similar sort of situation before Marco Fortune came here.”
Tonight’s opponents Blackpool, unbeaten in nine league and cup games in 2012, have played three games since Rovers were last in action in the 0-0 draw at Hull City a fortnight ago.
“Fortunately the results have gone our way and through not playing we are in a stronger position than we were,” said Saunders.
“We are in a position where we could be out of the bottom three by Saturday night if we win both our games this week and other results go our way, but I’m not looking any further ahead than tonight’s game. But I’m quite confident about tonight’s game.We put up a good show at Blackpool and should probably have won that game but we came away with nothing - they scored a 97th minute winner.
“As I say we played well and hopefully we can do the same again. We’ve just got to make sure that we are mentally prepared after not having played for two weeks.
“Not having played on a Saturday can work both ways.
“Sometimes being switched on a Saturday helps you on the Tuesday, but on the other hand the Portsmouth game might have taken something from their legs and we are fresh. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve just tried to make sure that everyone is focused and know what we’ve got to do to get a result.
“It has been difficult preparing for the game. I wanted to do some team shape yesterday but we couldn’t because the covers had snow on so we just had a short sharp session.”
Fifth-placed Blackpool arrive at the Keepmoat tonight boasting the second best goal tally in the Championship.
“They are loaded up with strikers up front,” said Saunders. “They’ve got players they can bring on who can change a game, which they have done, and I think 75 per cent of their goals have come in the second half and we are aware of that. They go for the throat and we’ve got to try and out-think them really,”
Rovers have rearranged their postponed home game against Reading for Tuesday, March 13.
“We’ve got games coming thick and fast and everybody is going to be needed,” said Saunders, who could soon have striker Chris Brown and midfielder Paul Keegan available for selection for the first time since he took over.