Doncaster Rovers: Why the Keepmoat will be a familiar place for new boy Kieran Sadlier

With plenty of goals to his name in the last year and age on his side, Kieran Sadlier was attracting plenty of attention once the League of Ireland season drew to a close.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 1:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 1:25 pm
Kieran Sadlier
Kieran Sadlier

But before Grant McCann was himself certain he had sold a vision of a future at Doncaster Rovers for the forward, Sadlier showed just how deep his interest was.

'Off his own back, since he's had a break after the end of their season, he's been coming to our games and not even asking for tickets,' McCann told the Free Press.

'I remember after the AFC Wimbledon game I heard someone shouting from behind me and it was Kieran. He was here with his mum.

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'That, in itself, spoke volumes for me that he really wanted to play for Doncaster Rovers.

'Then it was about keeping in contact with him and not letting his agent sway his mind anywhere else.

'We had to get a deal in place and I appreciate what the board and Gavin have done to get him here.'

Whatever the details of that deal may be, it could very well prove to be a sound investment for Rovers.

Sadlier's career looks to be on the up after two successful years in the League of Ireland, first with Sligo Rovers and then Cork City, a spell which also brought European competition.

The 24-year-old is set to compete with the likes of Mallik Wilks and James Coppinger for a place in the wider areas of Rovers' front three. And if he can carry his goalscoring form across the Irish Sea, he will have a strong chance of forcing his way in.

Sadlier netted 26 goals in all competitions last season, including scoring in every round of the FAI Cup, including the final.

He this week agreed terms on an 18 month contract with Rovers, a deal McCann fully believes the club will be keen to extend.

And he is also confident Sadlier will have plenty more suitors for his services in the future.

'Kieran is the type of player I feel will develop here in the next 18 months,' McCann said.

'And we'll probably see bigger clubs than Doncaster chasing him.

'That's how highly we rate him.

'Hopefully we can help him out with that but hopefully first he helps us by delivering the goods which we think he will.

'He's got a tremendous attitude, a real down to earth boy and he's exactly what we need in the changing room. He'll add to the group.'

Sadlier's arrival at the Keepmoat sees him renew his relationship with McCann, who was assistant manager at Peterborough United during the former Republic of Ireland U21 international's season at London Road.

The Rovers boss says he saw back then the potential in the youngster and was delighted to see thrive over the last couple of years.

'Jack Collison put him onto us when he was at West Ham and Dave Robertson was the manager at Peterborough,' McCann explained.

'At the time you could see his quality but he probably wasn't ready to take the positions of a Jon Taylor, or a Marcus Maddison or Joe Newell.

'Peterborough were quite strong in the position he played at the time.

'He didn't get the chance or time to develop and he was shipped out the door very quickly.

'He's gone and done it the hard way and forged a very good two and a half years for himself.

'We've done well to get him.

'Not only were a few clubs in League One interested but one or two in the Championship were chasing him as well.'