Doncaster hoping talisman Sharp can lead Rovers away from relegation fight

Billy Sharp
Billy Sharp
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DONCASTER ROVERS major shareholder Terry Bramall says the marquee loan signing of Billy Sharp has fully dispelled any lingering doubts concerning the board’s financial commitment to the club.

The fans’ favourite is back at the Keepmoat Stadium for a third spell after joining on loan from Southampton for the rest of the season.

The Yorkshire Post understands Rovers beat off competition from five Championship rivals to sign the forward, 28 early next month, with the club also paying a five-figure weekly sum to fund Sharp’s wages.

The deal to bring in Sharp follows on from the captures of experienced defenders Gabriel Tamas and Abdoulaye Meite and the re-signing of influential club captain Richie Wellens on an 18-month deal.

Despite fears among some fans that the board would not significantly back Paul Dickov’s plans to strengthen the side following the club’s slide towards the relegation positions in the Championship, any worries have now been allayed.

Only last month, sections of the club’s support had called for the return of ex-chairman John Ryan, who had publicly backed a bid by Irish-based consortium Sequentia Capital to take over – with the promise of major investment in the playing side.

Bramall hopes their recruitment this month has put to bed any such worries, with his hope being that Sharp can prove a talisman in the club’s survival quest.

He said: “It’s a fair statement from us and a demonstration of the board’s financial commitment.

“The impression we want to give to our supporters is that we are not mean. We try to be realistic, but look in the short, medium and long term at the same time.

“It is a very high-profile signing for us and underpins what we are trying to achieve.

“I am thrilled with the signing. It’s something we wanted and feel it’s great for the club and the fans.

“We are hoping it takes us forward and we feel the signing demonstrates our intent.

“We are hoping Billy will make a real difference to our performance. It would be great to get a few more goals, just like Saturday.

“We think Billy will be like a great talisman for us because he has got a history with the club and the supporters and he has always done well for us at Doncaster.”

Rovers chief Dickov has also revealed his delight at capturing his No 1 January transfer target, with his belief that fans “would not be disappointed” if the club landed their prime transfer option certainly ringing true.

Dickov, who is set to hand Sharp a third ‘debut’ for the club in Saturday’s Championship encounter at Blackpool, said: “As you would imagine, there were a lot of big clubs in for Billy.

“I’ve got to thank the board because they’ve been fantastic with me in this window.

“I’m absolutely buzzing that we’ve got this deal done.

“It goes without saying that he (Sharp) ticks all the boxes for all the right reasons.

“Billy has shown a massive desire to come back to the club.

“He wants to get back playing and scoring goals and he wants to do that with us.

“The fans absolutely love him and he loves them right back.”

Sharp, who will wear the number 10 shirt at Rovers, first joined the club in 2009-10 on loan from his boyhood club Sheffield United.

The Sheffielder plundered 15 goals in 34 appearances for the club, prompting Rovers to break the bank to make a club record £1.1m move in July 2010.

Sharp continued to hit the goals trail with the club, netting 26 times in 47 starts before moving to Southampton for £1.8m in January 2012.

Despite aiding their promotion bid, the striker has never managed to become a top-flight regular at St Mary’s and spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest, netting 11 times.

In the first half of this season, Sharp was farmed out on loan to Reading, scoring twice.

Released Barnsley striker Jason Scotland has signed for SPL side Hamilton until June.

Meanwhile, young Reds forward Danny Rose has penned a new two-year deal with the Oakwell outfit.