West Ham striker Frederic Piquionne set to snub Doncaster Rovers

West Ham United's Frederic Piquionne (left) is close to joining Doncaster Rovers.
West Ham United's Frederic Piquionne (left) is close to joining Doncaster Rovers.

DONCASTER Rovers’ hopes of landing West Ham United striker Frederic Piquionne are fading fast, the Free Press understands.

A deal was agreed between the two clubs which would have seen the Frenchman join Rovers on loan until the end of the season.

Dean Saunders and Willie McKay spoke with Piquionne on Wednesday in an attempt to convince him to join Rovers’ battle against relegation while Free Press sources believed at that time that a deal was likely.

But it is now understood Piquionne may have received a better offer from elsewhere and will now snub the dogfight with Rovers.

The 33-year-old was told by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce there would be nothing in his way should he want to leave on loan.

Piquionne has slipped down the West Ham pecking order following the arrivals of Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard during the transfer window.

Saunders is keen to add firepower to his ranks following Billy Sharp’s move to Southampton and turned to Piquionne, who Rovers were linked with during the early days of the Welshman’s tenure.

Rovers are close to welcoming back striker Chris Brown who has been out with a knee problem since September.

Brown was back in full training this week but he is more likely to be in contention for a return to the squad either at Leeds on February 18 or at home to Peterborough a week later.

Only relegation rivals Nottingham Forest have scored fewer goals in the Championship than Doncaster this season, while ten of Rovers’ 23 goals came courtesy of Sharp.

Doncaster will have to do without James Coppinger for at least another four weeks as the midfielder continues to recover from the fractured cheekbone he suffered at Bristol City.

Saunders has ruled out the possibility of Coppinger returning ahead of schedule by wearing a protective face-mask but he did return to light non-contact training yesterday.

Pascal Chimbonda will be back in the squad on Saturday following a lengthy injury lay-off but may have to settle for a place on the bench after Rovers kept a third clean sheet in four at Hull last week.

Saunders said: “The fighting spirit was there for everyone to see at Hull, and at Bristol City after we went down to ten men.

“The lads have got to keep that going at Palace - they’re a solid, well-organised team and they don’t concede many goals.”

Rovers were this week also hoping to tie-up a deal that will keep Habib Beye at the club until the end of season after the Senegalese defender had his contract cancelled at Aston Villa.