Profile: New Rovers boss Dean Saunders

INCOMING: New Rovers boss Dean Saunders.
INCOMING: New Rovers boss Dean Saunders.

DONCASTER Rovers will have their fingers crossed new boss Dean Saunders does not suffer his ninth career relegation after his appointment as new manager.

The 47-year-old former Wales international striker played through eight relegations during his career, which saw clubs part with more than £10m for his services.

But the signs he can avoid a similar fate as a manager look strong as he battled boardroom instability and financial strife over three years at Wrexham to bring moderate success.

Saunders departed the Racecourse Ground on Thursday evening with the Robins in second place in the Blue Square Premier, level on points behind current leaders Luton Town.

Wrexham have won six of their opening ten matches and conceded just three goals in their first seven games.

All the on-field progress came despite continued boardroom unrest at a club whose financial troubles have stretched back since before their relegation from the Football League in May 2008, five months prior to Saunders’ appointment.

The club were issued with a winding-up order in April after mounting up a £200,000 debt to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Several months passed with players and staff not being played and there were doubts as to whether Wrexham would be allowed to start the current campaign in the Conference as the club struggled to raise a £250,000 bond required by the league.

But supporters raised the £100,000 still required in a mammoth period of fund-raising.

Wrexham Supporters’ Trust are currently attempting a takeover of the club and revealed last week they had agreed a deal in principal.

Saunders was appointed in October 2008, deep in the aftermath of Wrexham’s relegation from the Football League for the first time since 1921.

Wrexham won their first five matches under Saunders but failed to carry their strong form through the rest of the campaign and narrowly missed out on the play offs.

A midtable finish followed in the 2009/10 season but Saunders guided Wrexham to the play offs last term, only to lose in both legs of the semi final with Luton.

He previously served as a coach under Graeme Souness at Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United and was John Toshack’s assistant as manager of Wales until his appointment at Wrexham.

After starting his playing career with home town club Swansea City, Saunders moved to Brighton and Hove Albion before being handed his first chance in the top flight with Oxford United in 1987.

When Oxford were relegated in 1988, Saunders joined Derby County for £1m and moved on again after the Rams went down, joining Liverpool for a then-English record fee of £2.9m.

His next move was to Aston Villa who paid £2.5m for his services in September 1992.

Saunders netted two goals in Villa’s 3-1 win over Manchester United in the 1994 League Cup final.

Brian Little off-loaded Saunders to Galatasaray in 1995 for £2.35m but he returned to England a year later to join Nottingham Forest for £1.5m.

Spells with Benfica, Sheffield United and Bradford City followed until his retirement in 2001 after more than 740 appearances and 254 goals in club football, plus 75 caps and 22 goals for his country.