DEAN Saunders has conceded defeat in his bid to retain the services of Simon Gillett.
Saunders confirmed to the Free Press that he was keen to re-sign the midfielder who reached the end of his contract last month.
But with his hands tied by budget restrictions, Saunders has been forced to watch Gillett find a new club.
He said: “I wanted to sort something out with Gilly but we’ve spoken to his agent and another club has been in.
“What they’re offering him is way out of our price range so he won’t be coming back to us I’m afraid.
“The situation we’re in means we were always likely to miss out on signings, whether they be new ones or old players coming back.
“But that’s life, we’ll just get on with it.”
Saunders had just 15 players at his disposal when the squad returned for pre-season training last Friday, a situation he admitted was ‘not ideal.’
He has set a target of signing a minimum four or five players before the start of the season.
But while Saunders once again reiterated he has a number of players lined up ready to join Rovers, he is unable to act until there are departures from the Keepmoat.
And he confirmed there still has been no firm interest in any of Rovers’ current crop.
He said: “I’m really surprised, but no one has been in for any of our lads which means we’re still stuck.
“We only had 15 lads in on Friday which isn’t ideal because you want to be hitting the ground running.
“We’ve had some good sessions but it’s difficult because you don’t know who’s going to be here and who isn’t when the season starts.
“So far we’ve got David Cotterill, Robbie Blake and David Syers in and that’s pleasing.
“But we desperately need another four or five lads to be anywhere near ready for the start of the season.
“We’ve given the five young lads the professional contracts but they’re nowhere near ready for first team football in League One and they’ll be out on loan soon.”
A small number of triallists joined Rovers in training this week and Saunders confirmed one was Greg McDermott – son of Liverpool legend Terry – who was released by Newcastle United earlier this year.
Triallists will also play a part in Rovers’ first pre-season friendly when they travel to Cleethorpes Town (3pm).
Saunders said: “We’re going to be taking as many of the squad as we can on Saturday and they’re likely to get some game time.
“Triallists will also be involved.
“Because of the size of the squad, if we pick up a few knocks this week then we’ll be struggling to put a team out.
“But we’ve got a programme worked out for each of the lads which includes the amount of time they’ll be playing over the pre-season and we’ll be sticking as close to that as we can.”
Rovers follow the trip to Cleethorpes with another away friendly, at Grimsby Town on Tuesday (7.30pm)
Tickets for the clash with Northern Counties East League newcomers Cleethorpes are priced at £5 for adults, £2.50 concessions.
Entry to the game with Blue Square Premier side Grimsby at Blundell Park are £10 adults, £5 concessions.
Tickets for the friendly at Rotherham United on July 24 must be purchased in advance and are on sale to season ticket holders and members now.