NEW recruit Billy Paynter concedes he is short of match sharpness as Doncaster Rovers gear up for life in League One.
The Liverpudlian striker ended a frustrating spell at Leeds United by penning a two-year contract with Dean Saunders troops.
But the 28-year-old, who became Rovers seventh summer signing on Monday, has managed to get just 45 minutes under his belt over pre-season. He is expected to feature in the club’s league opener at Walsall this weekend but acknowledges he has work to do on the pitch to enhance his fitness levels.
Paynter told The Star: “I have only played 45 minutes so I am a little behind on match fitness but I’m sure the guys here will get me up to scratch.
“I think it will be a few matches before the fans start to see the best of me.
“I have just been doing stuff on my own to keep myself ticking over during the summer but it is not the same as playing games.
“I feel good physically. I am happy for a fresh start and I can’t think of a better club to be at.
“I had other offers but I just felt this was the place to come and play my football.”
The forward actually trained with the Rovers squad a fortnight ago but has been waiting patiently for the transfer to be completed.
“I was hoping to get this move sorted out sooner,” he admitted. “It dragged on a little bit.”
Paynter says he is relishing the prospect of working with Saunders on a daily basis.
He said: “I spoke to the manager a couple of times on the phone and his plans for the club and he spoke highly of the players here.
“Dean was a forward himself and played at the highest level and played for his country so I’m eager to learn from him. He is very experienced so, as a striker, you want to listen.”
Meanwhile, The Star understands Hull City have expressed an interest in long-serving Rovers ace James Coppinger. The Tigers, beaten by Rovers in a pre-season friendly, are monitoring the winger’s situation. Coppinger is one of the high earners at Rovers and Saunders is under pressure to lower the wage bill following relegation to League One.
Saunders, who says defender Shelton Martis (calf) and Neil Sullivan (thumb) are major doubts for the trip to Walsall, wants to keep Coppinger as the club look to bounce back at the first attempt but may have no choice but to offload him.