SENEGALESE international El Hadji Diouf will be “harshly” dealt with by Doncaster Rovers if the striker broke a club curfew before the 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
Rovers manager Dean Saunders has revealed they are conducting an internal investigation into reports Diouf was in a nightclub just hours before the team’s clash with the Saints.
Photographs of Diouf, two-time African Footballer of the Year, were posted on Facebook earlier this week apparently showing the 31-year-old partying at Bournemouth’s Priva nightclub.
Speaking before the club’s home engagement with Birmingham City this evening, Saunders said: “If someone has broken the rules, I will deal with it harshly.
“Everybody has to adhere to club rules. It doesn’t look good [on the club]. There will be an investigation into the matter.
“I asked El Hadji [whether he was in the club on Friday night] and he said ‘no.’ He’s an unusual character and not easy to manage but he’s a class act on the pitch.”
Diouf, who has courted controversy throughout his career in England, is expected to spearhead Rovers attack tonight as the relegation-haunted club seek their first victory in six matches.
Contracted to Rovers until the end of the season, Diouf will face the maximum permissible fine if found guilty of breaking club rules.
Rovers have declined to comment on the matter.
Saunders will have to make one enforced change to his back four. Pascal Chimbonda is ruled out with a hamstring problem and faces a minimum of a week on the sidelines, meaning Saunders will have to choose between Mustapha Dumbuya, who is on the verge of being offered a new contract, and James O’Connor in the right-back department.
Habib Beye, drafted into the squad who drew with Crystal Palace late on after an injury to Shelton Martis in the warm-up, is a major doubt with an ankle niggle. Sam Hird is on stand-by to play alongside Adam Lockwood.
Midfield duo Brian Stock and Martin Woods remain on the absentee list.
Saunders wants four more wins to guarantee survival and has warned his players that they are playing for their futures.
“If they give it everything, they have got a chance of [getting a contract],” he said. “If you are cutting corners, you haven’t.
“I have just told all of them that if they don’t go out and practice and do extra, don’t expect to be any good at it.
“You only get out of football what you put into it.
“I know from my experiences in the past that if you work hard things come good for you.”