Duo set to lift Rovers

Talented striker: Frederic Piquionne is on the brink of joining Doncaster Rovers.          Picture: clive gee/pa
Talented striker: Frederic Piquionne is on the brink of joining Doncaster Rovers. Picture: clive gee/pa

DONCASTER Rovers could be given a double boost in their battle to avoid relegation before the trip to Crystal Palace this weekend.

The Star understands Rovers, who are five points adrift of safety in the Championship, are poised to sign West Ham striker Frederic Piquionne on loan until the end of the season ahead of the clash at Selhurst Park. The emergency loan window re-opened to Football League clubs earlier in the week.

It is thought talks are progressing well with Habib Beye over extending his stint at the Keepmoat Stadium. The versatile defender, who can operate at right-back or centre-half, has caught the eye since arriving on a temporary basis from Aston Villa where his contract runs out in the summer. Villa are believed to be keen to get Beye off their wage bill before his deal expires.

Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders has previously stated: “Habib is happy here and wants to stay even though he’ll be on about a tenth of the money he was on at Villa.”

Piquionne, meanwhile, is on the verge of becoming the latest player to join Rovers foreign legion. Club officials are confident the deal will be ratified in time for the Frenchman to make his debut at Palace.

One-time French international Piquionne was linked with a number of top flight clubs during the January transfer window, including Sunderland and Wolves, but is expected to move to Rovers in the next 24 hours to revitalise his faltering career.

Piquionne, aged 33, cost the Hammers £1m from French club Lyon two summers ago after a season on loan at Portsmouth.

Although he bagged nine goals as the Hammers dropped out of the Premier League, Piquionne has slipped down in the pecking order this year at Upton Park and has been deemed surplus to requirements now the leaders have swooped for Ricardo Vaz Te from Barnsley and Nicky Maynard from Bristol City,

Agent Willie McKay, a pivotal figure behind Rovers unique transfer policy, said: “We are talking to West Ham about taking Piquionne on loan.

“Dean is keen to get a new striker in and, hopefully, we can do a deal.

“He is a player I know a lot about having followed him when he was in France with St Etienne, Monaco and Lyon.”

Having sold the prolific Billy Sharp on the penultimate day of the January transfer window to Southampton, Rovers are still short of firepower as they seek to climb out of the bottom three.

Saunders is targeting a fourth clean sheet in five outings when they lock horns with Palace.