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Grimsby 13:00 Doncaster

Saunders aims to repay Rovers

New boss relishing "big challenge" after replacing O'Driscoll

Last Updated: 23/09/11 3:33pm

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Saunders: Has been tasked with masterminding Rovers' revival

Saunders: Has been tasked with masterminding Rovers' revival

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Dean Saunders is hoping to repay the faith of the Doncaster board after being appointed the club's new manager.

The former Wales striker was persuaded to leave non-league promotion hopefuls Wrexham to succeed Sean O'Driscoll and take up a three-year contract with Doncaster.

O'Driscoll was relieved of his duties on Friday morning with Rovers sitting bottom of the Championship after taking just one point from seven games this season, while they finished one place above the drop zone last term.

Saunders established himself as Donny's top target having led Wrexham to the Blue Square Premier play-offs last term and they currently sit second.

This is the 47-year-old's first managerial appointment in league football and he was installed in time to take charge of training on Friday, in readiness for Saturday's home game against Crystal Palace .

"It's unbelievable," Saunders told Sky Sports News. "Last night I got the phonecall and it's all happened so quick.

"I'm sad to be leaving Wrexham. I spent nearly three years there and I've put everything into it.

"I'm a bit disappointed I didn't get them promoted but that's football and I've got to move on now.


"I've got a big challenge in front of me and I've got to try to get Doncaster up the league.

"I want to manage at the highest level and I'm grateful to the people at Doncaster who have given me the chance and have put their faith in me.

"The team's in a bad situation at the minute, being bottom of the league, but I don't think there's a lot wrong. The previous manager's done a terrific job with the club.

"They've just hit a bit of a bad patch and it's my job to lift them, get the club moving forward and hopefully get us looking at the other end of the table."

Doncaster chairman John Ryan had given O'Driscoll his backing this week and once said he would never sack him but defended his decision to end O'Driscoll's five-year tenure.

Ryan defence

"Maybe I did say that, he has been a great servant to us," he said.

"But don't forget, he was the longest-serving Championship manager so I don't think we can be accused of hiring and firing.

"Dave Penney was with us eight years so we've only had a couple of managers in the last decade and I don't think many clubs can say that.

"The club needed a change," Ryan added. "We needed reinvigorating, and you couldn't get anyone better than Dean Saunders for that."

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