WITH a heavy heart, Dean Saunders just could not say no to sleeping giants Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The 48-year-old spoke to The Star exclusively yesterday en-route to his first training session with his new club.
Saunders was keen to speak about the debt of gratitude he owes Doncaster's current squad - and instructed them to carry on their good work and finish the job they have started.
Saunders said: "I didn't really want this to happen now but Wolves are such a big club, I couldn't say no.
"If it had been one of the smaller clubs in the Championship, things might have been different.
"I want to thank everyone at Doncaster. The club gave me my chance and they'll always have a special place for me.
"I'm absolutely devastated to be leaving that group of players of players behind.
"They all took to me and worked so hard for me.
"They are the biggest reason why I've been given this opportunity to manage a club like Wolves.
"Leaving them right now, I cannot tell you about the mixed feelings I've got.
"They've been a credit to themselves and I'm really proud to have worked with them.
"I just hope the team can keep it going.
"The players have got themselves into a good position and I want them to keep working and to be as determined as they have been," he added.
"You have a lot of ups and downs in football but if they continue to show the sort of character that they did for me, they can get back to the Championship."
Saunders departs Doncaster with the club sitting pretty at the top of League One, level on points with Tranmere Rovers. It is far cry from the fire fighting that the Welshman was originally hired to do, as Rovers ultimately lost their battle to retain Championship status.
"When I took over at Doncaster it was a similar situation to this [at Wolves]," said Saunders. "The club had a losing mentality.
"It's hard to change that round, especially when you've got no money and sell your best striker.
"But I was confident I could turn it round this season.
"We took a step back, cleared the decks and came back stronger.
"Doncaster Rovers is a great club and I really enjoyed my time there," he added.
"There are some great people at the club and I can see them going from strength to strength. Everybody who now works for that club is pulling their weight.
"Gavin's [Baldwin] doing a great job and John [Ryan] has wrestled them out of the Conference.
"I know they got a good deal [in terms of compensation] which is some sort of consolation, and I wish the club all the best for the future."