Doncaster Rovers v Hull City: Parkin takes Saunders’s eye as he gets into full swing at Rovers

JON Parkin’s first six days as a Doncaster Rovers player have been ‘different’ to say the least.

His manager was sacked only a day after his arrival and his new manager has given him a set of golf clubs and a TV.

“When I heard about the manager being sacked, I initially thought it was a wind-up,” Parkin admitted yesterday. “But that’s football and, as a player, you just have to get on with it.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The departure of Sean O’Driscoll has opened the door for Dean Saunders who, in his first training session, awarded prizes to his players for the best goal and individual performance.

Parkin, who had joined the club on a month’s loan from Cardiff City, scooped both.

“It was something a bit different and the lads enjoyed it,” said Parkin, who also hopes to impress sufficiently to clinch a permanent move to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Although substituted on his debut against Crystal Palace, the game still ended in a 1-0 victory for Rovers who had not won any of their previous 19 games.

Tonight Parkin line-ups against one of his former clubs, Hull City, as bottom-of-the-table Rovers set out to maintain their revival.

The Tigers are currently sixth in the Championship after picking up 10 points from the last 12 available and and conceding just one goal in the process.

Parkin is looking forward to the reunion but admits he has mixed emotions about his time at the KC Stadium.

Under Peter Taylor, he played a key role in helping Hull avoid the drop yet under Phil Brown he fell out of favour and was loaned to Stoke City who eventually paid £250,000 for his services.

“I owe a lot to Peter Taylor because he showed a lot of faith in me and gave me my big chance,” Parkin said. “But towards the end, things had gone a bit sour under Phil Brown. It’s a long story but let’s just say a lot of things happened that were just not right.

“When I first joined Hull, they were in a similar situation to the one I am in now. We were also bottom of the league but it was more of a panic situation because it was January and time was running out.

“It was a big step up for me at the time but I got a couple of goals in my first three games which calmed me down and I have never looked back since.”

Parkin believes his experience with the Tigers would help Rovers in a survival fight – although he also feels they have the quality to start climbing the table soon.

“I am really surprised we are down at the bottom because we have a good footballing team,” he said, “But we can definitely get out of this position – we just need to grind out a few results out and take it from there. This is a tough league and you need to be on your game every week. If you’re not, you will get turned over.”

Parkin helped Stoke win promotion to the Premier League but never got a taste of top-flight action and was sold to Preston North End in the summer of 2008.

He made over 100 appearances for the Lancashire club before moving to Cardiff eight months ago. Once again, he fell out of favour following a change in management and suspects that his future now lies elsewhere.

“Its been tough at Cardiff because I just want to play football,” he said. “I don’t know if the manager (Malky Mackay) doesn’t fancy me or not – but they have signed four new strikers, including Robbie Earnshaw and Kenny Miller, and obviously he is going to pick the players he has brought in.”

Ironically, Parkin had also moved to South Wales – leaving his hometown Barnsley for the first time in his career.

Now back in South Yorkshire, he admits that he would like to stay at Doncaster beyond the end of his first month on loan.

“You never know what can happen in football but, hopefully, I will do enough that Doncaster want to sign me,” he said.

Rovers were last night also linked with former Bolton striker El Hadji Diouf, but the club’s first priority in the transfer-market, however, could be patching up their defence after left-back Tommy Spurr was ruled out for over three months with a groin injury.

Saunders is also planning to shake-up the club’s coaching staff and Brian Carey will be confirmed as his No 2 in the next 48 hours. Carey, 43, worked alongside Saunders at Wrexham.

Saunders has also recruited Wrexham’s fitness coach, Mal Purchase, and there may be departures in the pipeline.

“Something is obviously wrong, we have had that many hernias and I am trying to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

“I will do most of the coaching so we definitely won’t need as many staff,” he added. “I could have them if I wanted – but I would rather have a tighter ship.”

Hull midfielder Robert Koren is set to to shake off a hamstring strain to play tonight but Paul McKenna is doubtful with a dead leg.

Last time: Doncaster 3 Hull 1, August 28, 2010, Championship.

Last six games: Doncaster LLDLLW Hull LLWWWD

Referee: SJ Rushton (Staffordshire).