DONCASTER Rovers manager Sean O'Driscoll has hailed the role of chairman John Ryan in the loan capture of defender Matthew Kilgallon from Sunderland.
Rovers beat off competition from a host of rival Championship clubs to land the former Sheffield United and Leeds United player who makes his debut this afternoon at home against Reading.
Ryan, along with the club's other major shareholders, Dick Watson and Terry Bramall, dipped into their own pockets to fund Kilgallon's wages for the rest of the season. Ryan also assumed personal responsibility for persuading Kilgallon to agree to a move.
"Originally, when I was looking around for a centre-half with the resources we have got, it was pointless looking at someone like Matthew who had been bought for 2.5m and was playing in the Premier Division," said O'Driscoll. "It's not my money to gamble – but the chairman and the two directors have made it possible. John Ryan has to take a lot of credit. When you have John ringing you morning, noon, and night, he can be quite persuasive.
"It also makes it more easy when a player is keen to come like he was," added O'Driscoll. "If we had been trying to compete with some of the clubs who were reportedly interested we would have been dead in the water – but Matthew knows Billy (Sharp), Martin (Woods), John Oster and Neil Sullivan and wanted to come to a place where he would feel comfortable."
Rovers are three points behind eighth-placed Reading but, significantly, have two games in hand. Victory would boost the club's bid for play-off qualification ahead of Tuesday night's third round FA Cup replay at Premier League Wolves. Ticket prices have been reduced in order to generate a bumper crowd today. Adult tickets cost 15, concessions are 10, and under-12s gain admission for just a fiver.
O'Driscoll, meanwhile, is still waiting for captain Brian Stock to make a decision over his future after offering the Welsh international a new improved two-and-half-year deal. Stock, 29, is out of contract in the summer and is attracting interest from several clubs.
"If he makes a decision that he is going to wait until the end of the season we will live with that – but if he signs it, we will be delighted," he said. O'Driscoll is also in talks with Southampton over extending Joseph Mills's loan which expires after the Wolves game.