DONCASTER Rovers boosted their squad prior to tomorrow’s opening Championship fixture at Brighton yesterday afternoon when signing former Derby and West Bromwich star Giles Barnes on a five-month deal.
“The deal probably suits us and suits Giles, though he may be ruing that decision come Christmas,” said Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll.
“It was probably our only option to try and do that on a short-term basis.
“He suffered a nasty Achilles tendon injury at West Brom and he needs to get his career back on track. I’m surprised that he was available on a free.
“We tried to get him on loan last season but we already had six players on loan so it would have been a bit awkward. But we kept in touch with the boy and his agent.
“He’d been at Nottingham Forest for two or three weeks but they set their sights higher. He had an open invitation to come in and train.
“He came in at the end of last week and played at Grimsby last Friday and did really well and he also did well in training so we made a quick decision.”
The club’s decision means that QPR striker Rowan Vine, who had been with Rovers since the first day of pre-season, will not sign.
“Ideally we’d liked to have kept both of them,” said O’Driscoll, who said that Barnes’ versatility had helped sway their decision.
“Giles can play in various positions and he’s got pace and power and he’s only 23 (today). He’s six-foot plus and he ticks a lot of boxes.”
Barnes is likely to feature in Rovers’ squad at Brighton.
Tomorrow’s game will be the first competitive match to be played at the Seagulls’ impressive new home. They played a strong Spurs side in the official opening ceremony last weekend and O’Driscoll mounted a spying mission.
He came away impressed by both the 22,500 capacity stadium and the Brighton side.
“I was trying to look for chinks in their armour,” he said. “But the way they play suits the playing surface.
“They handled the occasion really well and you’d think that if they were playing in the league that they’d do exactly the same.
“I watched them few times in League One and they are comfortable doing what they are doing. They have an astute, intelligent manager. He has brought in a goal-scorer in Mickail-Smith but he is going to keep faith with his squad until he knows what they can do (at this level).”
O’Driscoll said he didn’t believe the fact that the Seagulls will be playing in a new venue will have an adverse affect.
“I think they’ve been sensible and have played one or two games behind closed doors,” he said.