Paul Goodwin’s verdict: Sharp’s January dilemma will make or break Rovers’ season

Rovers' Billy Sharp celebrates his second goal. Picture: Andrew Roe
Rovers' Billy Sharp celebrates his second goal. Picture: Andrew Roe
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ALL Doncaster Rovers fans want this Christmas is for Billy Sharp to stay at the club.

Very few players in the modern game connect with their supporters - and become a genuine idol - like Sharp has done at Doncaster.

If Billy decides in January that his future lies elsewhere, Rovers fans face the very real prospect of watching their side in League One next season.

His goals aren’t irreplaceable.

But the adulation he generates in the stands, his true dedication and his popularity in the dressing room will be almost impossible to replicate.

When the day comes that Billy decides his future lies elsewhere, Doncaster are losing more than just a goalscorer.

But even if he does depart next month - and it’s still a very big if - that won’t stop him leaving with everyone’s best wishes.

The term ‘legend’ is bandied about far too often these days.

But Billy Sharp, during his relatively short time at the club, has become exactly that - a Doncaster Rovers legend.

His goalscoring prowess - and his big kid in a playground attitude to the game - made him an instant hit during his initial loan spell at Rovers.

Billy’s incredible response to last month’s tragedy has only enhanced his glowing reputation and popularity.

And when his stunningly hit volley found the bottom corner on Saturday - a strike that even surpassed his Goal from Heaven in terms of technique - he cemented his legendary status at Doncaster.

Billy himself will shirk at the legend tag.

He just sees himself as a down to earth lad who loves earning a living out of football.

He also happens to be very happy at Doncaster, he has lots of good friends at the club and he enjoys being a big fish in a small pond.

A move elsewhere, particularly at this delicate time in his personal life, is anything but cut and dried.

But, on the other hand, Billy is also incredibly ambitious.

He believes he has what it takes to play in the Premier League - and he backs that up with a scoring record at Rovers of almost a goal every two games.

Only Billy himself knows whether the time is right for a move.

Leicester, Southampton and Ipswich are all poised to test the water next month - and all Rovers fans can do is pray that Billy rejects their advances.

Billy Sharp is not worth the £3million that activates the now famous clause in his contract.

He is worth at least double that in today’s market.

And his sheer presence in the red and white hoops next year - regardless of his goals - could be worth Championship status to Doncaster alone.

Rovers are making very few noises about offering Billy a new deal, which suggests they want to cash-in on their star striker at some point.

But ultimately the decision rests with Billy - and after the year he has had, nobody at Doncaster will begrudge him a big move.

Billy will have been disappointed to see Marc-Antoine Fortune return to West Bromwich Albion this week.

The pair linked up superbly again during the win over Leicester and their differing styles complemented each other perfectly.

But I’ve also said the same about Sharp and El Hadji Diouf, who now look set to lead the line at Turf Moor.

Rovers fans’ Christmas wish might be for those two to still be up front come February - if that’s the case Rovers can look forward to a Happy New Year!

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