DONCASTER Rovers received a boost yesterday when veteran keeper Neil Sullivan put pen to paper on a new 12-month deal.
Sullivan, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday in February, proved to be one of the club’s best signings since being snapped up from Leeds United - who deemed him surplus to requirements - during the summer of 2007.
There had been speculation that Sullivan, faced with the prospect of being No 2 to Gary Woods next season, would seek pastures new.
But Rovers were keen to keep a man whose professionalism is legendary.
“Neil Sullivan has been a big part of our success in recent years so it’s great to have him back on board again,” said Rovers assistant manager Richard O’Kelly.
“At one time it looked as though we weren’t going to agree a deal but he’s signed on for another year and it is good to have a player of Neil’s quality around the place again.”
Rovers’ home game against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United will be shown live on Sky Sports for the second successive season - the game having been brought forward to the previous night (8pm) from its scheduled date of Saturday, October 15.
The corresponding game last season ended in a 0-0 draw - a result which denied Rovers second spot overnight ahead of the Saturday programme.
Sullivan, who was in goal when Rovers beat Leeds in the League One Promotion Play-Off final at Wembley in 2008, will no doubt be keen to be involved on a night when the South Yorkshire side will be looking to avenge a 5-2 beating at Elland Road last March.
New signing James Baxendale would also love to feature. The 18 year-old Doncaster-born attacking midfielder, who came up through the junior ranks at Elland Road.
“He’s got a fantastic attitude and he’s got a good football brain,” said O’Kelly. “He’s not the biggest of players but technically he’s very good. He’s got a good understanding of what he’s doing and he’s very enthusiastic and he can only get better.
“If I’m being honest he would have to do exceptionally well to break into the first team next season, but he’s the sort of lad who wouldn’t surprise me if he did.”