Doncaster Rovers assistant manager Richard O’Kelly says the left-back position remains a priority for the club as more decisions are made about next season’s squad.
Bids have already been turned down for Billy Sharp and James Coppinger from Ipswich Town as manager Sean O’Driscoll looks to build on last year’s team rather than shedding players.
O’Kelly said all positions are under review if someone better becomes available, but stressed left-back is the spot where stability is needed most after George Friend impressed as a left-side centre-half.
O’Kelly said: “We’ve created a situation where we need to fill the left-back position because George has done well since he moved across to the left of the centre-half positions.
“That is the key position for us this summer but everywhere else where we can get better we’ll also look at that.”
Rovers may have an immediate answer to their problems in Joseph Mills. Signed in October 2010 for an initial one-month loan deal from Southampton, the 21-year-old eventually made 17 starts for the club.
The Star understands that Southampton would be unlikely to stand in Mills’ way if Rovers did want to make his move north permanent.
Mills’ path to the Saints first team is blocked by Ryan Dixon, Dan Hardy and the highly-rated Academy prospect, Ben Reeves.
The young defender, whose last appearance was in the 3-1 home defeat against Cardiff City on April 9, is out of contract next summer so may not command a fee from St Mary’s if Rovers and the player are able to agree terms.
Doncaster will undoubtedly cast their net wider than Mills in order to strengthen their back four but his familiarity with the squad and management could count in his favour.
n Meanwhile, John Pemberton, Sheffield United’s academy director, last night urged his players to resist temptation by pledging their futures to Bramall Lane.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s FA Youth Cup Final second leg at Old Trafford, Pemberton revealed their progress has created new challenges.
He warned them not to have their heads turned by lucrative offers. “When I
first came here I didn’t get any phone calls. Now agents are all over the place,” he said.
“It does make my job more difficult when you’ve got people telling these lads they can earn three or four times more.” Blades: P42