Doncaster Rovers: No Sharp end to Billy’s return

Billy Sharp back in training for Rovers, with Luke McCullough.
Billy Sharp back in training for Rovers, with Luke McCullough.
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Billy Sharp has returned to Doncaster with two simple targets that should be music to Rovers supporters’ ears: play games and score goals.

It is clear that at this present time Billy Sharp needs Doncaster Rovers as much as Doncaster Rovers need him.

He needs to be scoring the goals Rovers need them to stay in the Championship and he has desire to show he is a million pound striker as much as Rovers desire to possess one.

Next week will mark the two year anniversary of Sharp’s £1.8m departure from Rovers to Southampton, a move he made to chase the Premier League dream.

After helping the Saints over the finishing line, he found himself frozen out of St Mary’s and has endured nothing but uncertainty since.

Now back in Doncaster, Sharp is fully aware he has the chance to get firmly back on track.

And that starts with achieving his primary targets.

“When I was growing up I dreamed of being a footballer and while the money is good, I just want to play football,” Sharp said. “I just feel in the last 12 months that I’ve not played a lot of football.

“Some people say I should’ve never left Doncaster but I had ambitions of playing in the Premier League and I felt it was right to do it at the time after a few things in my personal life.

“I nearly got the chance to play in the Premier League. I got into the team, scored goals and got promoted which was the highlight of my career.

“After that I didn’t quite play as much as I would’ve liked but that’s football.

“It’s got to the stage at Southampton where I don’t know who the manager is and he doesn’t know me.

“This will be my third loan spell in two seasons which isn’t a massive help but this is the right move for me.

“I had three managers at Nottingham Forest and an injury at Reading that meant I only started five games.

“So this was the right move for me at this time and hopefully I can be successful.

“I just want to come to help the climb up the table.”

It would have taken a catastrophic turn of events for Sharp not to be welcomed back with open arms should have ever returned to Rovers.

But the feeling of being wanted should not be underestimated because the 27-year-old admits that is exactly what he now needs.

He said: “I will be honest that I think with my career at this stage, I do need a lift.

“I spoke to the gaffer regularly. He showed a lot of interest. It’s nice to feel wanted.

“My confidence hasn’t been knocked, I still believe in myself and I don’t feel the need to prove anyone wrong.

“But there are things that are always in the back of my mind like being forgotten and the questions about why I’m not scoring goals.

“I just want to get back on the back pages for scoring.

“The support I got from fans on Twitter on the night I signed was overwhelming.

“I’ve said before that I play for the fans because they are the constant at any club.

“I’ve got a good relationship with the fans and hopefully I can start that again.

“Everyone knows I’m a Sheffield United fan but Doncaster is special to me.

“The support they showed me and my family during a really tough time means much more than football.”

There is a sense that Sharp has unfinished business with Rovers.

He admits he always expected he would return, though perhaps not as quickly. And it is clear he will revel in the opportunity to help a club he loves survive.

“Every footballer wants to play at the highest level but this is a great challenge,” he said. “We’re in a relegation dogfight, everyone knows that, but winning two or three games can work wonders and you can start playing football again.

“I still want to impress I want to do better than what I did the last time I was here.

“I just want to get back into an environment where I’m enjoying football again.

“I feel in good shape, my last game was New Year’s Day but if the gaffer wants me for Blackpool I’m ready to go.

“I’m looking forward to that first home game back, a big one against Charlton on Tuesday night.

“But first, I’m looking forward to eating a few hotdogs in Blackpool and then I can look forward to Tuesday.”