Doncaster Rovers: Dean’s Rovers return is off

Dean Saunders is not in the running for the Rovers job.
Dean Saunders is not in the running for the Rovers job.

Dean Saunders will NOT be returning to Doncaster Rovers, the Star can reveal.

The Welshman had been linked with a sensational and swift return to the Keepmoat Stadium after being sacked by Wolverhampton Wanderers following their relegation from the Championship.

But the Star has learned that Saunders did not apply for the vacant job and is not in contention.

Saunders earned plenty of plaudits in the aftermath of Doncaster’s instant return to the second tier.

He was credited by chairman John Ryan and chief executive Gavin Baldwin as playing a huge part in the club’s League One title success.

Rovers’ former boss also remains a popular figure among most of the players - the majority of whom he brought to the club during last summer’s large scale rebuilding job.

Howwever, the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker is most likely to take some time out of the game after suffering back-to-back relegations with Doncaster and Wolves.

Saunders does not feature on the shortlist of managers that was drawn up by Baldwin and the club’s co-owners earlier this week.

Rovers had initially hoped to conclude their search for Brian Flynn’s successor this week, with plenty of work for the new incumbent to do before the Championship season kicks off on August 3.

However, with various people involved in the process either on holiday or tied up with other commitments, an appointment now looks more likely to be made next week.

Baldwin told the Star that Rovers shortlisted three managers for interview at a meeting held on Monday - although the club has since released a statement on their website stating four managers have been shortlisted.

Baldwin also revealed that at least one interview may have to be delayed until early next week due to a candidate’s commitments elsewhere, which has fuelled speculation that Rovers could be about to speak to a manager or coach involved in the Football League play-off finals or final day of the Premier League or Scottish Premier League seasons.

Bradford City’s Phil Parkinson, who is yet to sign a new contract with the Bantams, will lead his side out at Wembley in the League Two play-off final against Northampton Town on Saturday.

Uwe Rosler’s Brentford face Gary Johnson’s Yeovil in the League One final on Sunday.

Scottish based pair Terry Butcher and Steve Lomas wrap up their domestic seasons on Sunday with Inverness and St Johnstone respectively.

However, the smart money still appears to be on former Oldham boss Paul Dickov, who is now priced as short as 1/9 for the job with bookmakers.

Ryan has previously gone on record to reject claims that Dickov has already been offered the job - but speculation of that nature refuses to go away.

Doncaster are said to want a ‘young and progressive’ manager to take over from Flynn.