Diatta set for Rovers

Lamine Diatta - Liverpool/ Besiktas - Champions League C1 - 06.11.2007 - Foot Football - hauteur attitude ChrisBrunskill/BPI
Lamine Diatta - Liverpool/ Besiktas - Champions League C1 - 06.11.2007 - Foot Football - hauteur attitude ChrisBrunskill/BPI

Former Senegal star defender Lamine Diatta is set to sign for Doncaster Rovers.

And manager Dean Saunders is hoping the former 2002 World Cup team mate of Rovers’ El-Hadji Diouf will get international clearance in time to join the squad to face Southampton at home tomorrow.

Diouf also gave the Keepmoat club a boost yesterday by revealing he wants to stay until the end of the season.

Former Premier League star El-Hadji Diouf had been expected to move on during next month’s transfer window but has told the club that he wants to stay and help in their battle against relegation - even though Rovers will continue to pay him a fraction of what he could earn elsewhere.

“He’s not signed a contract yet but it’s brilliant news for the club,” said Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders yesterday.

“People have got to remember that he’s only 30 and that he’s still at the peak of his career and he’s playing for us and that he’s agreed to keep on playing for us even though we are bottom of he Championship.

“He can see what I’m trying to do and he can see that we are going to have a good team; he’s not a mug. He is also going to help us get players in as well. He is a big, big star all over the world and when he speaks to players on our behalf we’ve got more chance of getting them.

“So not only is he a good player, but he is also helping in other ways. Players who were thinking of not coming, such as Habib Beye, decided to come when he heard that ERl-Hadji was here.”

Despite his ‘bad boy’ reputation prior to joining the club, Saunders says that there have been no problems.

“Everybody is getting on with him and he’s a nice lad,” he said. “I’ve just got to handle him the right way and make sure that he is buying into what we are trying to do here as well.”

The 36-year-old Diatta, who is a free agent after being released by Tunisian club Etoile Sportive du Sahel earlier this year, has trained with the Rovers’ squad this week and also took in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Millwall.

“He’ll sign a short-term deal to try and help us through this period and we’ll see how he does,” said Saunders. “He’s an experienced defender who has played in the World Cup and for some big clubs.”

Saunders is hoping that Beye, who picked up a dead leg at The Den, will be fit to play.

“He had treatment back at Villa yesterday and we’ll see how he is today,” said Saunders, who hopes to have George Friend available again after a two-match lay-off with an ankle injury.”