DONCASTER Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders was delighted yesterday after finalising the deal to bring former Leeds United striker Billy Paynter to the club.
The 28-year-old, who has been a target for Saunders for several weeks, signed a two-year deal and was due to become the club’s seventh summer signing today once all the paperwork goes through.
Saunders thought that he had lost out on the Liverpool-born striker, who was transfer-listed by Leeds last month after struggling to make his hoped-for impact at Elland Road, when he went on trial at Blackpool last week.
But he renewed his interest after Blackpool decided against offering him a contract and he was given permission by the board to approach Paynter.
Paynter trained with Rovers late last week for a day but the two parties couldn’t agree on personal terms.
Further talks took place over the weekend resulting in Paynter agreeing to Rovers’ financial package.
Saturday’s Capital One Cup first round tie against League Two newcomers York City, which Rovers won on a penalty shoot-out, made Saunders even more determined to add to his firepower after seeing his side struggle to convert chances in a game which finished 1-1 after extra-time.
Paynter, who trained with his new team-mates yesterday, shot to fame during his time at Port Vale where he proved a thorn in Rovers’ side on several occasions.
He was snapped up by Hull City in January 2006, but failed to reproduce the form he showed at Vale Park, as he did in his time at Southend.
He scored four goals in 15 starts for Bradford City before moving on to Swindon where he finished the top scorer in League One in 2009-10 when his 24-goal haul just failed to secure Town promotion to the Championship.
Paynter, who played alongside Chris Brown during his time at Hull, rejected a new deal at Swindon and joined Leeds later that summer but found goals, and games, hard to come by and was recently released by ‘mutual consent.’
Former Huddersfield Town centre-back Jamie McCombe, who moved to the Keepmoat at the weekend, trained with the Rovers’ squad for the first time yesterday.
Like Paynter, he is expected to make his Rovers’ debut in Saturday’s League One opener at Walsall.
Saunders is still hoping to bring in another couple of players over the next few days.
He hinted that he might look to bring in another midfielder following the departure of Brian Stock to Burnley on Saturday.
Fears that recent signing Paul Quinn, stretchered off in the York game, had suffered a serious leg injury, were allayed over the weekend and he trained with the squad yesterday.
Former Welsh international Brian Flynn, who both played for and captained the club in the 80s, has joined Rovers’ backroom team and will be involved in advising Saunders on potential future targets.