Ilunga’s keen to stay on

A happy man: Herita Ilunga likes Doncaster
A happy man: Herita Ilunga likes Doncaster

HERITA Ilunga wants to prolong his stay at relegation-haunted Doncaster Rovers.

The experienced left-back’s short-term contract expires after the Easter double-header with Leicester City and Burnley.

“I would like to stay until the end of the season but I am not in control of the situation,” Ilunga told The Star. “I’m just taking it game by game.

“I signed for one month and hopefully I will get it extended. I am here to do well and to help the team. I am happy as long as I am playing games.

“I like the staff, the players and the fans here and was more than happy to come back to the club.

“It is just a shame our position is very bad.”

Ilunga rejoined the South Yorkshire club on an initial one-month deal in March, having left West Ham by mutual consent.

The 30-year-old, who made 15 appearances for Rovers from October 2011 to January 2012, trained with Leyton Orient following his Hammers exit but was invited back back to the Keepmoat Stadium by boss Dean Saunders.

Ilunga has started the last three matches and was booked in the draw at Crystal Palace.

Rovers remain in deep trouble following their 3-1 loss at Birmingham City on Friday night. Saunders men are effectively seven points adrift of safety as they boast the worst goal difference in the division at minus 32.

Chairman John Ryan has said in recent days relegation from the second tier of English football would cost the club £5m.

With time running out, Saunders side desperately need to string two or three victories together to give themselves an outside chance of escaping the drop. Both Rovers and second-from-bottom Portsmouth are in danger of being cast adrift after a succession of disappointing results.

But Ilunga claims Rovers, who are bottom of the table with six matches remaining, still possess the quality in their ranks to get out of the precarious position they find themselves in.

“Have a look at the players here?” said Ilunga. “We believe in our quality.

“We will keep working hard and we have to believe until the bitter end.

“I believe in our squad that we will be okay.”

Frederic Piquionne grabbed his second goal in Rovers colours in the defeat to the Blues, their third reversal in a row on home soil. Ilunga believes the team have to be more ruthless in front of goal to stave off the threat of relegation.

“When we get the chances to score, we must take them,” he said. “We had a chance to score the first goal at Southampton but we missed it and then we made two mistakes.”