hird’s dream derby

Leeds old boy: Sam Hird started out in West Yorkshire before switching to his home-town club.
Leeds old boy: Sam Hird started out in West Yorkshire before switching to his home-town club.
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DONCASTER Rovers defender Sam Hird will today realise an ambition he harboured as a teenager during his time at Leeds to play in a first-team match at Elland Road.

The Doncaster-born player, who was at Leeds between the ages of 11 and 18 years, said: “I played on the Elland Road pitch for the reserves and in the FA Youth Cup but never in a first-team fixture. So it is something that I’m looking forward - especially with it being for Doncaster.”

Leeds were still a Premiership side when Hird first joined them but were plying their trade in the Championship when he he joined Rovers, initially on loan.

Hird says has no regrets at joining his home-town club, which is hardly surprising in view of the fact that Rovers have enjoyed more success than Leeds since he moved.

Hird played his part in helping to make that happen by helping Rovers beat Leeds in the 2007-08 League One Promotion Play-off Final at Wembley.

He broke into the team late in the season and held on to his place in the run-in and the club’s Play-off campaign.

Leeds’ Wembley defeat condemned them to two more seasons of League One football, but they have marked their return to the Championship this season by mounting a strong bid for back-to-back promotions.

Said Hird: “I’ve not seen much of them this season. I’ve still got a couple of friends there and I’ve spoken to them. Obviously they are doing well.

“They lost at Swansea last week but Swansea are a good side and are very difficult to beat at homet”

Meanwhile, Rovers boosted their squad ahead of today’s game by signing Spurs keeper Ben Alnwick on a month’s loan.

Providing Alnwick’s Premier League clearance comes through in time, the 24 year-old is set to make his debut at Elland Road.

Alnwick, who has made just three starts for the White Hart Lane club, has trained with the Rovers squad all week. The regular Spurs No 2 last season, Alnwick made his only Premier League appearance in the last game of the 2009-10 campaign against doomed Burnley at Turf Moor.