Dean wants El of a Deal

Long range effort: El-Hadji Diouf shoots from distance in last night's game.'           Picture: steve taylor

Long range effort: El-Hadji Diouf shoots from distance in last night's game.' Picture: steve taylor

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Dean Saunders is hopeful that Doncaster can avoid El-Hadji Diouf following Billy Sharp out of the Keepmoat exit door after his contract with the club expired last night.

A deal was agreed in principle to sign Diouf to a new contract in December, but the Senegal international is still yet to put pen to paper on the contract that would keep him at the club until the end of the season.

After selling star striker Sharp to Southampton, losing another of their most potent attacking options would be a massive blow to Rovers in their battle against relegation.

Sheffield-born Sharp was Doncaster’s top scorer with 10 goals in his 20 appearances this season before sealing a switch to St Mary’s on Monday.

His departure only makes the need to keep Diouf even more pressing for Saunders, who will now make re-signing the forward his top priority ahead of the final third of the season.

Saunders said: “I’m meeting with Dioufy and the chairman and we’re going to try to thrash a deal out for him.

“We’re competing against teams, like Hull, who have players from their Premiership days who are on big money. We scrap and scrap and scrap and we’ll keep doing that but you’ve got to have a bit of quality in your team, and Dioufy has that.

“He wants to stay with us, and it makes it a bit easier for us now because Billy’s left and we don’t have to pay his wages anymore and we got a transfer fee for him.

“Hopefully that will help us put an offer on the table for Dioufy that will keep him at Doncaster because he’s a quality player.

“I haven’t really signed a player yet at this club – it’s all been short term deals – but the money we’ve had for Billy hopefully makes things a bit easier for us in that regard.”

Saunders, whose side remain marooned in the bottom three, hailed the battling spirit shown in the Yorkshire derby.

“It’s a good result for us considering the week we have had and that’s three clean sheets in four games,” he added.

“The boys are scrapping and fighting and coming to Hull where we have lost eight on the trot was tough.

“I thought we were brilliant and we battled.”