Billy Sharp last turned out for Rovers in their away game at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate on January 21st 2012. Rovers lost the game 2-1, here’s how they lined up;
Jimmy O’Connor – Sam Hird – Habib Beye – Tommy Spurr
Simon Gillett – Brian Stock – James Coppinger
James Hayter – Billy Sharp – El Hadji Diouf
Chris Wood gave the hosts the lead after 26 minutes, nodding home Cole Skuse’s cross. Things turned nasty soon after when Habib Beye saw red when he jumped into a two-footed challenge on Skuse. Rovers had a mountain to climb already, even more so when Kalifa Cisse scored Bristol’s second from the resulting free kick.
Rovers managed to pull a goal back with only 15 minutes left when, after a passing move of around 30 passes, El Hadji Diouf headed past David James.
The goal was too little too late and the ten men of Rovers went on to lose the game 2-1.
Unfortunately, this was a common occurrence for Rovers that season and was their 16th defeat of the season so far.
Billy’s last goal for the club came in the 4-1 drubbing at Watford on New Years’ Eve 2011. Surprisingly, his goal levelled the scores and came just after the break.
When Billy left Doncaster Rovers, they were 23rd in the table with only Coventry City below them. After he left, Rovers failed to record another victory until March 6th when they faced Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Where are they now?
Billy’s last game came away at Bristol City in January 2012. Where are his team mates now?
David Button (GK)
On loan from Tottenham Hotspur, Button made seven appearances for Rovers. Since then he has had spells with Barnsley and Charlton Athletic. He now plays for Brentford FC, and has made 11 appearances so far.
Jimmy O’Connor (RB)
O’Connor left Rovers at the end of the 2011/12 season, signing for Derby County. He has made 22 appearances so far for the Rams but has most recently been out on loan with Bristol City where he was managed by former Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll.
Sam Hird (CB)
Doncaster-born Hird also left Rovers at the end of the 2011/12 season. He joined Chesterfield FC, where he was made captain, and has gone on to make 53 appearances so far.
Habib Beye (CB)
Beye has been without a club since leaving Rovers in 2012.
Tommy Spurr (LB)
Spurr stuck with Rovers and was part of the 2012/13 League One winning squad. He left for Blackburn before the 2013/14 campaign and has appeared against Rovers twice this season. So far he has appeared 26 times, chipping in with two goals.
Simon Gillett (CM)
Another departure at the end of the 2011/12 season, Gillett joined Nottingham Forest where O’Driscoll was on the coaching team. Gillett remains a Forest player but has most recently been on loan at Bristol City, again being brought in by SO’D.
Brian Stock (CM)
Brian Stock left Rovers late in the pre-season leading up to the 2012/13 campaign. He joined Eddie Howe’s Burnley where he has gone on to make 33 appearances so far, including a substitute appearance at the Keepmoat earlier this season.
James Coppinger (RM)
As we all know, Coppinger remains with Doncaster Rovers and is in his ninth year at the club. He did, however, have a brief spell on loan at Nottingham Forest last season and made six appearances. He returned to Rovers and was also part of the League One Championship winning squad.
James Hayter (ST)
Hayter left Rovers following the 2011/12 season. He signed for Yeovil Town and has made 62 appearances so far, scoring 17 times. He was part of the League One Play-Off winning side as Yeovil joined Rovers in the Championship.
Billy Sharp (ST)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of days, Billy Sharp is again at Doncaster Rovers on loan for the remainder of the season. Since the Bristol City game, Sharp has made 17 appearances for Southampton and has scored nine goals. He was promoted to the Premier League with the Saints in 2012. Since then he has had a loan spell with Forest, making 39 appearances and scoring ten goals. Earlier this season, Sharp was on loan at Reading but failed to make an impact, making ten appearances and scoring only twice.
El Hadji Diouf (ST)
Diouf also left Rovers at the end of the 2011/12 season, joining Leeds United. So far he has made 40 appearances for the Elland Road side, scoring five times. There are rumours that Diouf is free to leave the club and could therefore be on the move yet again.
Where were they then?
Billy’s first game back is away at Blackpool on Saturday. We take a look at where his team mates for this game were when he left for Southampton.
Ross Turnbull (GK)
Turnbull was in the Chelsea reserved when Billy last appeared in a Rovers shirt. He made seven appearances for the Blues and joined Rovers at the start of this season.
Gabriel Tamaş (RB/CB)
Tamaş was playing in England with West Bromwich Albion. He made 45 appearances for the side before leaving for CFR Cluj last year. He joined Rovers in time to make his debut against Wigan last week.
Bongani Khumalo (CB)
South African International Khumalo was on loan at Reading from Tottenham Hotspur. He joined Rovers on loan from Spurs at the start of this season. Since 2012, Khumalo has featured for PAOK where he made 22 appearances.
Abdoulaye Méïté (CB)
Méïté was plying his trade with French side Dijon in 2012. Since then he appeared 25 times for FC Honka in 2013 before joining Rovers earlier this month.
James Husband (LB)
Husband was making his way through the Doncaster Rovers youth system when Billy was last at the club. He made his debut at Middlesbrough in 2012, quickly becoming a fan’s favourite and has gone on to score four goals in 45 appearances.
Currently in his second spell at Doncaster Rovers, Richie Wellens was a Leicester City player when Billy appeared at Ashton Gate. He made 129 appearances for the Midlands club, scoring four times.
Keegan was at Doncaster Rovers, having joined in the 2010/11 season. Breaking into the first team last season, Keegan has made 50 appearances in all, scoring once.
Mark Duffy was a Scunthorpe United player in 2012. He made 102 appearances for the Iron, scoring eight times including a free kick against Rovers last season. Duffy joined Rovers ahead of this season and has appeared 22 times so far.
Forrester joined Brentford in 2011 and made 55 appearances before joining Rovers this season. He was part of the Brentford side who were beaten to promotion in the final game of last season.
He’s still here! Coppinger scored his first goal of the season against Wigan last week. Not really much else we could say.
Brown was also with Doncaster Rovers when Billy left. He has made 67 appearances so far in his second stint with the club, scoring 17 times.
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