Sharp envies high flyers

GOAL! Billy Sharpe celebrates his goal for Rovers.
GOAL! Billy Sharpe celebrates his goal for Rovers.
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DONCASTER Rovers’ star Billy Sharp may be getting itchy feet after seeing two Championship strikers head towards the Premier League.

DONCASTER Rovers’ star Billy Sharp may be getting itchy feet after seeing two Championship strikers head towards the Premier League.

Sharp has been inspired by the opportunities that have opened up for strikers Danny Graham and Steve Morison - and says he remains ambitious that he too can play at the highest domestic level.

The former Sheffield United man has had a superb strike rate since leaving Bramall Lane for Rovers.

And he feels he could hold his own in the top league saying: “I keep telling my dad that the goals are the same size wherever level you play!”

Sharp, believed to be holidaying in Las Vegas, has certainly proved himself to be one of the best strikers in the Championship over the last two seasons.

The 25 year-old, who played the majority of the 2009-10 season for Rovers as part of a long-term loan whilst still on United’s books, finished the Keepmoat Stadium club’s top scorer with 15 goals, despite missing the run-in due to injury.

Sharp’s form prompted Rovers to splash out a club-record £1.15m fee to secure his services last summer.

Even though he missed more than three months of the season in total due to niggling hamstring and hernia problems, he again finished as the club’s top scorer with 16.

Sharp returned to action, after a two-month lay-off following an hernia operation, in the last game of the season at Middlesbrough.

At that point, he told The Star that he was confident that had he not missed so much of the campaign due to injury that he would easily have passed the 20 goal target he had set himself and gone close to challenging the division’s top scorer, Graham.

The Watford striker has joined Premier bound Swansea this week, whilst another of last season’s leading Championship marksmen, Morison, has moved from Millwall to Norwich City, who will also be playing in the top flight next season.

Although happy with his lot at Doncaster, Sharp wouldn’t be human if he didn’t feel a touch of envy at Graham and Morrison’s elevation to the Premier League.

More motivated by football’s challenges than its financial rewards, Sharp clearly remains keen to test himself at the highest possible level.

Rovers expressed concern at the end of last season that they might struggle to hold on to their prize asset during the summer, with suitors waiting in the wings.

And their fears were soon realised when Championship rivals Ipswich Town made a joint bid of £2.6m for both Sharp and James Coppinger, valued at £300,000 in the deal.

The approach was flatly rejected by Rovers’ chairman John Ryan.

He said at the time that whilst ‘every player has his price’ the club didn’t want to sell either of the two men.

He added that both players (as is club policy) had been informed of Ipswich’s approach but were happy to remain at the South Yorkshire club.

But he admitted: “Had it been a Premier League club then it might have been a different matter.”