Saunders is banking on Paynter’s threat

DEAN SAUNDERS believes Billy Paynter’s arrival means Doncaster Rovers have a goal threat for the first time since Billy Sharp left.

Goalscoring was a major problem for the South Yorkshire club last season with a tally of 43 from 46 games contributing hugely to their relegation.

Sharp contributed 10 of those goals, in the process becoming the only Doncaster player to reach double figures.

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That he managed the feat despite leaving for Southampton in January goes a long way to explaining why Rovers struggled so badly last term to finish bottom of the Championship.

Now, however, Saunders believes Paynter is capable of providing the goal threat that has been so sorely lacking since Sharp’s exit.

He said: “Billy has come to do a job for the club and, even in training, you can see the ball come across the face of goal and it is going in.

“Whereas since Billy Sharp left, we have missed too many chances or not been in those positions when the ball has come across the goal.”

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Paynter struggled in his two years at Leeds United, scoring just three goals in 27 appearances.

However, he netted 26 goals for Swindon Town in League One during the 2009-10 campaign and Saunders is hoping his new arrival from Elland Road can replicate that scoring form.

Also set to make his debut at Walsall today is Jamie McCombe, the defender who Saunders signed last weekend on a two-year deal from Huddersfield Town.

The Doncaster manager added: “Jamie McCombe is an old fashioned centre-back who does the basics properly.

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“He is a big strong lad and I just felt that if you want to win any league or do well anywhere then you have to have centre-halves who can head the ball away.”

With the mass exodus that followed relegation, Rovers had just 12 players report back for duty on the first day of pre-season.

Since then, Saunders has slowly added to his squad but with Hull City interested in James Coppinger that number may fall further.

He said: “We have got 17 as we speak and I am just making sure that the final piece in my squad is one that I get right and cover all areas. I’ve got one or two to add but am playing a waiting game.”