Rovers double deal: We could not keep on missing out on players - Saunders

Dean Saunders with new signing Robbie Blake. Picture: Steve Uttley.
Dean Saunders with new signing Robbie Blake. Picture: Steve Uttley.

DEAN Saunders had to use all of his powers of persuasion to complete a double swoop for former Premier League duo David Cotterill and Robbie Blake.

Welsh winger Cotterill signed a two-year deal at the Keepmoat Stadium and Saunders has vowed to get the 24-year-old’s career back on track.

Former Bradford and Leeds forward Blake also sealed a move to Rovers yesterday after being released by Bolton Wanderers.

Saunders had to convince Rovers’ board to loosen the pursestrings in order to bring in Blake and Cotterill.

And the club’s money men have backed their manager by allowing him some leeway on a wage budget that is already £1million over the figure set by the board.

A delighted Doncaster boss has promised the club’s board a return on their investment.

Saunders said: “Obviously we’ve been waiting for the budget to even out but, because no one has left, I had to persuade the board to help me out.

“We’ve missed out on a few players already this summer and we couldn’t just keep on letting that happen.

“I’ve been working hard to bring players in for as little as possible so it’s great to make a bit of positive progress.

“To get David Cotterill in is a great coup for us.

“He could end up making the club a few quid in the long run.

“Robbie Blake is blessed with talent,” added Saunders yesterday morning.

“I know Robbie well having played alongside him at Bradford and he’s a genius at times.

“I’m looking forward to working with them both.”

Former Wigan and Sheffield United wideman Cotterill ended last season at Barnsley after his contract at Swansea was terminated in January.

He burst onto the scene at Bristol City and worked with Saunders on the international stage when Rovers’ boss coached Wales.

Veteran forward Blake, 36, has signed a one-year deal at Rovers following spells at Bolton, Burnley, Leeds, Birmingham, Bradford and Darlington.

Saunders said: “David’s been offered more money to go elsewhere but he thinks Doncaster is the right place for him at this time.

“He’s not played as much football as he would’ve liked over the last couple of seasons.

“But if we can get him fit he has the ability to do really well here.

“I worked with him for Wales and I liked what I saw.

“It’s up to me to get the best out of him.

“Robbie’s obviously at the other end of his career but we’ll get the fitness coach working with him and I’m confident he’ll be an asset for us in League One,” he added.

“He’s brilliant on the ball and still has an incredible appetite for the game.”

The Free Press understands Saunders is also closing in on two more transfer targets and hopes to clinch their signings next week.