Doncaster sign Diouf

IPSWICH Town have a double interest in the fact that Championship rivals Doncaster Rovers have signed striker El Hadji Diouf today.

Not only do Dean Saunders’ side play at Portman Road on Saturday, but Town are also closely monitoring the situation of Rovers’ front man Billy Sharp.

The powerful frontman – who scored 16 goals last season – was left out of the squad for ‘family reasons’ at the weekend, with the south Yorkshire side scraping a point at home against fellow strugglers Coventry.

Ipswich had a joint �2.3m bid for the 25-year-old and midfielder James Coppinger rejected at the start of the summer and manager Paul Jewell has kept a close eye on the former’s situation ever since.

Sheffield-born Sharp – who turned down a move to Southampton after a �3.25m fee was agreed – missed most of August and September with ankle ligament damage.

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With Doncaster quickly falling towards the foot-of-the-table, manager Sean O’Driscoll was sacked and has been replaced by former Wales international striker Dean Saunders.

Rovers have now made two marquee signings in former Tottenham full-back Pascal Chimbonda and controversial ex-Liverpool forward Diouf, the latter having also drawn interest from Wigan and Portsmouth following his release by Blackburn in the summer.

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And Doncaster chairman John Ryan has already admitted that the club will now have to off-load some players as a result.

He said: “We have to cut our wage bill and live in the real world. We have to fight tooth and nail to stay in the Championship this season and move on from there.

“If we go down, it will take us years to get back. Look at Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Sheff Wednesday – none of them found it easy.

“The directors have put �12m into Doncaster Rovers over the last five seasons. This season our losses will be �3.6m plus we have got to pay Sean O’Driscoll and Richard O’Kelly, so make it �4m.”

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