McIndoe relishing the chance to finally shine in the Championship

Richard Sutcliffe MICHAEL McINDOE is relishing the step up to the Championship after completing his switch across South Yorkshire from Doncaster Rovers to Barnsley.

The 27-year-old winger has been at Belle Vue since 2003 and played a major part in the club's rise from the Conference to the fringe of the League One play-offs but was determined to play at a higher level in the coming season.

McIndoe, who spent the final two months of last season on loan at Derby, has signed a two-year deal at Oakwell after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee.

The Tykes' new signing said: "I enjoyed my brief spell in the Championship with Derby last season and I think it suited my style of football. It is a bit more open, teams pass the ball more and people appreciate better football players.

"I do not think we will have any problems. I can't wait to get started. I have had a break, I am feeling fit and looking forward to the new season."

McIndoe netted 35 goals in 138 appearances for Rovers and helped the Belle Vue club come within a whisker of reaching the Carling Cup semi-finals last season when only a last-gasp equaliser by Arsenal's Gilberto forced a thrilling tie to penalties.

The Scot, who had opened the scoring in normal time, converted Doncaster's first shoot-out spot-kick only for the Gunners to run out 3-1 winners on a memorable night.

Doncaster manager Dave Penney said: "Everyone knows that Michael wanted to play at a higher level and he demonstrated that to us. He wanted to play at Championship level or higher.

"He handed a transfer request in last season and made it known he had not changed his mind at pre-

season training.

"We did not want to let him go but we were aware of his desire to play higher and we knew he could walk away for free next year.

"Barnsley are the first club that have come in and offered a fee, which was accepted by the board. We would like to thank Michael for his efforts at the club and we know he gave 100 per cent while here."

Reds manager Andy Ritchie plans to take a close look at Darren Ward in the coming few days after the Welsh international goalkeeper joined the club on trial.

The move comes after England Under-21 goalkeeper Scott Flinders has joined Championship rivals Crystal Palace for a fee which could rise to 1m.

The highly-rated youngster, who has signed a three-year deal at Selhurst Park, made his debut for the Tykes in March 2005 and impressed enough in his first year in professional football to earn a trial with Premiership champions Chelsea.

Palace's swoop was finalised as defender Sam Togwell moved in the opposite direction, arriving at Oakwell for an undisclosed fee.

Sheffield United defender Chris Armstrong has signed a three-year extension to his current contract to stay at Bramall Lane until 2009.

The 23-year-old's new deal is the Blades' second major boost of the week with Michael Tonge also having agreed on a new two-year agreement.

United manager Neil Warnock said: "I am delighted for Chris because he has worked so hard to overcome injury and get fit."

The left-back, who has previously had spells with Bury and Oldham, came close to quitting the game because of a knee injury.

Armstrong's commitment and desire to overcome the problem and pursue his career resulted in him rejecting an insurance pay-out.

The defender's reward eventually arrived last season when he made a significant breakthrough into the first team, clocking up 32 of his 39 appearances to date for the Blades following his 100,000 move from Oldham in 2003.

Warnock added "He is another I believe is capable of making a good impression. I hope this is the first of many new contracts that he agrees with Sheffield United."