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The Class of ‘13

27 May 2014

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What happened to the Griffin Park Heroes after they left Doncaster Rovers?

Just over a year has passed since Doncaster Rovers claimed one of the most remarkable promotions in recent memory with that win against Brentford at Griffin Park.

To some, it may feel like a lifetime ago that Marcello Trotta’s injury time penalty kick came crashing off the crossbar.

To others, it may seem like a matter of seconds ago, that Rovers broke within moments and James Coppinger slotted home in the most dramatic fashion. takes a look back at the latest fortunes of the players no longer with the football club.

Neil Sullivan – Former Scotland international Sullivan, was drafted in to the Rovers starting XI for the final few games of the 12/13 season to see if he could help Rovers over the line and cement his place as one of Doncaster’s finest ever goalkeepers. Fortunately for the experienced stopper, Trotta’s penalty cannoned off the bar and he could breathe a sigh of relief. After making over 200 appearances for Rovers, Sullivan hung up his gloves and now works as part of the coaching staff at Leeds United.

Gary Woods – Woods was virtually an ever present between the sticks for Rovers during the 12/13 season, but was omitted from the starting line up towards the end of the season, to make way for veteran Sullivan. Since then, Woods departed for pastures new and Championship side Watford. The progress of the 23 year old former Manchester United trainee appears to be nominal as he sees his path blocked by Manuel Almunia and Jonathan Bond.

Tommy Spurr – Spurr played an integral part in the 12/13 season for Rovers, playing every single game in the process. The left-back could also fill in at centre half and his versatility and willingness to play through the pain barrier proved vital. The former Sheffield Wednesday defender subsequently left the Rovers of Doncaster for their namesakes Blackburn. After an indifferent start for the Lancashire outfit, Blackburn’s play-off charge gathered momentum but they just missed out, and Spurr yet again proved through his 43 appearances for Gary Bowyer’s men that he is a well established second tier player.

John Lundstram – The highly rated Everton midfielder made 14 starts for Doncaster on loan from the Toffees to add a touch of class to Rovers’ midfield at the back end of the 12/13 campaign. His assured touch and vision were instrumental in helping Rovers over the line and have seen him capped at various England youth levels. The 20 year old returned to Goodison Park last summer, before two loan spells – firstly with Yeovil Town in the Championship and then League 1 Leyton Orient. The youngster came on for Russell Slade’s O’s in extra time of the League 1 play-off final against Rotherham on Sunday, but could not repeat the feat of the previous year. Orient, who had lost their two goal lead, were beaten on penalties by The Millers at Wembley.

Dave Syers – The man with a degree helped Rovers graduate to the second tier at the first time of asking, by chipping in with a few goals from midfield. The attacking midfielder arguably could have notched more and, after departing the Keepmoat to head to North Lincolnshire with League 2 Scunthorpe United, Syers proved his scoring prowess – and value – to the Iron by bagging 10 goals as Russ Wilcox’s side gained automatic promotion. Syers has quickly established himself at Glanford Park as a fans favourite and the 26 year old should face two of his old clubs – in Bradford and Doncaster – in exciting local derbies next term.

Iain Hume – The energetic front man joined Rovers on loan from Preston North End on the final day of the transfer window in August 2012. His tireless work rate and enthusiasm made him a constant thorn in the side of opposition defenders and he poached six goals in 24 starts including a last gasp effort against his old side, Tranmere. The 13/14 season fluctuated for the Canadian international and, after being used as a bit-part player by Simon Grayson at Deepdale, Hume moved on loan to League 2 Fleetwood. Here he linked up with former North End front man Jon Parkin and, although not the most prolific, Hume did score a crucial equaliser against arch-rivals Morecambe. Hume won his second promotion in as many years yesterday when the Cod Army defeated Burton Albion 1-0 at Wembley.

Billy Paynter – The affable Scouser had plonked himself on the bench at Griffin Park once The Bees had been awarded the penalty in the dying embers of the last game of the 12/13 season, such was his desolation. After Trotta’s miss, Paynter burst in to life and picked up the ball on the half way line to provide the crucial assist for Coppinger to send Rovers to the Championship. For Paynter, however, he probably played himself out of a job and didn’t impress Rovers’ boss Paul Dickov enough to play him more than a handful of times. Paynter dropped back to League 1, where he had scored 13 goals the previous season, but struggled to replicate his form while at Sheffield United. Paynter’s contract with Rovers has come to a close and he is looking for a new club.

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