DONCASTER Rovers’ latest signing Carl Ikeme believes short-term moves are improving his chances of Premier League football with Wolves.
Goalkeeper Ikeme is set to make his debut for Rovers against Barnsley today after joining on loan from Wolves until the New Year transfer window.
It will be his eighth spell on loan in eight years as a professional but his sights are still firmly set on regular place at Molineux.
“My short-term goal is to keep playing football but my long-term goal is to be the first choice at Wolves,” Ikeme told the Yorkshire Post. “You live in a lot of hotels when you are going out on loan and I have asked myself whether I want to keep doing it but, ultimately, I am doing it for the right reasons.”
Ikeme, 25, has already spent three months on loan with Middlesbrough this season and played in a 3-1 victory over Barnsley at Oakwell in August.
He played for both Queens Park Rangers and Leicester City last season and has also enjoyed spells at Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, Stockport County and Accrington Stanley.
“I am still quite young in goalkeeping terms so it is important that I keep on learning,” he said. “I spoke to the gaffer (Mick McCarthy) at Wolves at the start of this season and he wanted me to stay. Now I have got my future sorted, I want to prove that I am a good enough to play.”
Ikeme’s path to the Wolves first team is blocked by Wayne Hennessy and Dorus De Vries, who arrived from Swansea City last summer. He has played just a dozen league games so far for Wolves but has won call-ups to the Nigerian international squad.
Rovers manager Dean Saunders swooped for Ikeme to put pressure on Neil Sullivan, 41, who has been the club’s first choice for the last five years.
“I just felt we needed strengthening in the goalkeeping department,” said Saunders. “Carl’s a good goalkeeper who has just signed a new contract and wants to play in the Premiership but I’ll try to keep him as long as we can.”
Saunders, who has won three games out of nine since replacing Sean O’Driscoll as Rovers manager two months ago, is fully aware that today’s game will have added significance for supporters due to the rivalry that exists in South Yorkshire.
The former Welsh international has been involved in derbies in four different countries (England, Wales, Portugal and Turkey) and says: “There is something wrong with you if you don’t look forward to derbies. If you lose, the fans get slaughtered by opposition fans when they go into work on Monday. But they will all go home really happy if we win. Sometimes they are all about wanting three points more than the opposition and we are going there looking for three points.”
Rovers start today’s game still rooted to the bottom of the Championship table and Saunders is not ruling out the possibility of bringing in further new signings next week.
“We have irons in the fire,” he said. “But, if I bring players in, it is only because I need to and because they are better than what we have got. It is not rocket science. You need good players and they have got to work hard. That’s the secret of football.”