'Killa' loan lifts Rovers

DONCASTER Rovers made their first signing of the January transfer window yesterday - boosting their defensive cover by signing former Blades star Matthew Kilgallon.

The 27 year-old, who played over 100 games for United after being signed from Leeds United, has joined Rovers on loan from Sunderland until the end of the season.

York-born Kilgallon, who won five England Under-21 caps, is a product of the Leeds United youth system.

He signed for the Elland Road club in 2002, making his first team debut two years later.

He was sold to the Blades in 2007 for a seven-figure fee as Leeds looked to clear their crippling debts.

Kilgallon spent three years at Bramall Lane before joining the Black Cats last year.

He found it difficult to break into the Sunderland side and was allowed to join Championship side Middlesbrough on what was intended to be a season-long loan earlier in the season.

But his time at the Riverside was cut short by a back injury and he only played two games before returning to Sunderland for treatment.

"We are delighted to welcome Matt to Doncaster Rovers," said chairman John Ryan.

"The major shareholders of the board have once again clubbed together to show ambition by bringing in another player of Premier League quality."

Kilgallon will wear the number 27 shirt during his time at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Kilgallon is now over his back injury and could make his Rovers debut in Saturday's game against Reading.

"He's been back in full training for over four weeks and he'll train with the squad for the first time today," said Rovers No 2 Richard O'Kelly.

Like O'Driscoll, O'Kelly says that he is delighted to have the 6ft 2in tall defender on board.

"He's a quality player; you don't have to say anything more about him," he said.

"He's had a few problems since he went to Sunderland and things haven't quite worked out for him. But he's another player who probably fits into the mould in that he comes here and gets his career back on track.."

Rovers boss Sean O'Driscoll, who has both Shelton Martis and summer signing Wayne Thomas on the sidelines, made bringing in an experienced centre-back his No 1 priority during the transfer window.

Rovers have been particularly badly hit by injuries to defenders this season, with left-back George Friend, James Chambers, Janes O'Connor, Adam Lockwood and Mustapha Dunbuya all having problems.

Rovers have released both teenage midfielder Robbie Clark, who has started just one first-team game this season, and former Preston and Norwich winger Simon Whaley.

Rovers have rearranged their outstanding home game against Ipswich Town for Tuesday, February 15.

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