BACK-in-training Doncaster Rovers have resurrected their bid to sign Richard Naylor and the former Leeds United skipper could be set to join the club this week.
Naylor was training with the rest of the squad at Cantley Park when the players reported back on Monday and may be one of several trialists in the team to play at Armthorpe Welfare tonight (7.30pm).
It looked as if the deal had stalled last week but manager Sean O’Driscoll said then that both parties were still talking and it seems that terms may now have been thrashed out for a permanent move to the Keepmoat.
Naylor has always been seen as a valuable addition to the squad because of his leadership qualities both on and off the park.
He started his career as a striker at Ipswich Town where he scored 38 goals before being converted to a central defender and went on to captain the club and play in the UEFA Cup against Inter Milan.
The 6ft 1in defender joined Leeds initially on loan from Ipswich before making the move permanent two years ago following a series of commanding displays.
Naylor missed part of last season with a knee injury but returned to forge a powerful partnership alongside Andy O’Brien as the Elland Road club just missed out on a place in the play-offs.
Known as a tremendous defensive organiser Naylor will have a key role to play if the deal goes through following Rovers’ poor goals-against record last season.
Rovers have also signed 18-year-old midfielder James Baxendale on a one year contract from Leeds United.
Cantley Park was awash with trialists on Monday and several of them could make an appearance tonight with O’Driscoll committed to giving all his fit first team players a run out in the testimonial game for Des Bennett, which will be preceded by a match involving a Rovers Legends side starring former stalwart Colin Douglas and the Snodin brothers.
Also down to play are several stars from the Billy Bremner days including Billy Russell, Russ Wilcox, Daral Pugh, Mark Samways and John Stiles as well as Youth Cup finalists Mark Rankine, Paul Raven and Steve Gaughan, and former boss Steve Beaglehole.
Trialists to watch out for in the main match are Queens Park Rangers striker Rowan Vine, talented former Plymouth midfielder Luke Summerfield, out of contract Barnsley man Martin Devaney and former Aston Villa youth skipper Ellis Deeney.
Also among the players linking up with Rovers this week, and possibles for tonight, are former Scotland Under 21 midfielder Kevin McDonald, Preston centre back Neal Trotman, Algerian defender Rachid Bouhenna and ex-Middlesbrough forward Marinos Andreou.
After the opening friendly Rovers will continue their pre-season preparations in Eskdale where fitness and team building will be the priorities before playing a game at Barrow on the way back on July 16.
Rovers are hoping to find out from Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp next week whether he will agree to loan out midfield ace Ryan Mason for the season, but have denied reports that Cardiff City have shown interest in John Oster.
n Rovers’ home game against Leeds United is to be televised live on Sky TV and has been switched from Saturday to Friday, October 14 with an 7.45pm kick off.