DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders will be keeping an eye on developments regarding Fabien Robert at his club FC Lorient during the summer months.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder gave several impressive performances for Rovers in the closing weeks of the Championship campaign as they fought a losing battle against relegation.
The Frenchman joined Rovers on loan from Lorient in January and had to settle for four games on the bench before making his starting debut in the 3-1 defeat at home to Birmingham City at the end of March.
He scored the first of two goals for the club in the controversial 4-3 home defeat against Portsmouth which hammered the final nail into their relegation coffin.
He continued to impress in the club’s remaining games and Saunders admits that he is a player that he would be interested in next season were he to be available.
“His loan spell ended at the end of the season and he went back to Lorient and we probably won’t know the situation there until July,” said Saunders, who says has had no contact with Robert since he returned to France last month.
A product of Lorient’s youth policy, Robert signed an unprecedented five-year deal with them in the summer of 2007.
Things haven’t worked out as well as both parties would have liked, however, and Robert, who made two appearances for France Under-20 in 2009, has started just 22 games during his time at the club.
He spent time on loan to Boulogne in the 2009-10 season, making 16 starts.
Saunders told The Star that he has yet to receive an approach for any of his contracted players but worries that he could lose some of the players out of contract, who include Sam Hird and Simon Gillett, who he would like to retain.
Although all the players are under contract until the end of next month, they are allowed to speak to other clubs during that period.
Saunders, who cannot start to sign players until he off-loads some of his top earners due to budget restrictions, is believed to have told the players he would like to keep to be ‘patient’ in the meantime.
He admits it is a risky strategy, though he has little alternative, but says he will make every effort to hang on to the players he has earmarked as having a big part to play next season.
“If a player’s agent gets in touch and says that the player has been offered a contract by another club I would go to the board and see what we could do,” he said.