New boy poised to face Whites

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CHRIS Kirkland is pencilled in to make his Doncaster Rovers debut tomorrow night after joining the club on a three-month loan deal from Wigan.

Rovers confirmed the signing last night and the 30-year-old goalkeeper, who was capped by England in 2006, is set to stay at the Keepmoat Stadium until January.

Subject to the paperwork being ratified and league clearance being granted in time, Kirkland is expected to start in between the sticks against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, meaning the vastly-experienced Neil Sullivan will drop to the substitutes bench.

It was three days ago when Rovers were first linked with the Leicester-born shot-stopper, who started his career at Coventry City.

Following a series of impressive performances for the Sky Blues, Kirkland went on to become the most expensive goalkeeper in British transfer history when Liverpool paid £6m for his services at the age of 20 in 2001.

A plethora of injuries meant Kirkland made just 45 starts in five years for the Reds and he was farmed out on loan to West Bromwich Albion as he was gradually frozen out of the first-team picture at Anfield. Wigan opted to sign him on a permanent basis in October 2006 following a superb two-month loan spell at the club.

Now, having been deemed surplus to requirements at the DW Stadium by manager Roberto Martinez, Kirkland has arrived at Rovers looking to get his faltering career back on track.

In a statement, Rovers thanked former striker Graeme Jones for his help with the transfer and paid tribute to the Latics for assisting with Kirkland’s wages during his loan spell. The Star understands Rovers are paying just a small percentage of his wages.

Kirkland becomes the third high-profile player to join Dean Saunders’ revolution. The Welshman has already bolstered his defensive options by swooping for Pascal Chimbonda and Herita Ilunga.