Doncaster Rovers: Walker backs staying power of O'Driscoll INTERVIEW

Shrewd cookie Sean O'Driscoll is on to a good thing at Doncaster Rovers – and once again made all the right moves in ruling himself out of the recent vacant managerial position at near-neighbours Sheffield United.

That's the verdict of long-serving director of football Mickey Walker, who feels the Keepmoat boss made the correct decision, crucially both for himself and his current club, in pinning his colours firmly to the Rovers mast just after Christmas.

While many insist it's a case of when, not if, Rovers' multi-talented gaffer gets his chance at a major club after working the footballing oracle at Doncaster, the last thing the canny 53-year-old would do is throw his lot in when the first big-city chairman gets in touch with his Rovers counterpart, John Ryan.

O'Driscoll is too talented and astute for that.

Roughly 12 months ago, Burnley, then in the Premiership, offered a tantalising top-flight option to O'Driscoll, who was subsequently interviewed by the Turf Moor board before deciding to show loyalty to Doncaster.

And having spoken to the Blades hierarchy late last year, O'Driscoll again mulled over his options and elected to stay put.

His story still has a few chapters to run at the Keepmoat, where the

aspirations in 2010-11 remain firmly of the play-offs variety, with this week's loan capture of defender Matthew Kilgallon crystalising that intent.

Granted, seemingly attractive new destinations may offer a transfer kitty that he might only dream of at Rovers, but whether he is afforded a wealth of support and loyalty if things went awry is another thing entirely, something he can count on at his current club where the togetherness, collective responsibility and calm resolve behind the scenes is strong.

On the speculation regarding O'Driscoll potentially moving to the Blades, Walker said: "These things crop up periodically and Sean has got to think about himself on both sides of the coin.

"I actually said to him when all this was in the melting pot that I'd be awfully pleased if he stayed. But Sean is his own man.

"For us, it's about business and having a good manager at our football club and that's part of my job, advising the board and helping Sean every day of the week.

"Having said that, it would have thrown everyone at the club into disarray at this time of the year if he had gone and I think Sean realised that.

"He's very loyal and has done a good job. Although, if it had been the Barcelona job, I don't think he'd have worried too much about leaving Donny!

"I think it possibly wouldn't have been the right time if he had gone to United. Sheffield United are a very big club, much bigger than Doncaster Rovers and always will be.

"But sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

"Sean has built a great structure at the club, but other people have built things around to help him and he will tell people that.

"There's John Ryan, the board, Terry Bramall (director) and the chief executive Dave Morris, who has been with us 10 years. There's been a massive job done by everyone over the last 12 years.

"It's been a very, very good team effort and I think Sean realises that.

"You wouldn't get it so easy at every club. Sean's a shrewd operator,

who keeps his cards close to his chest and knows what he is doing.

"Sean may also have been under pressure at other clubs because they expect results and expect to be in the Premiership."

The play-off hopes of Rovers, who have games in hand on rivals above them, remains in their hands.

And while there was slight disappointment that their festive and new year points haul – taking in their home game with Middlesbrough on December 17 – wasn't a perfect nine out of nine after the Blades denied them at the death in the January 3 derby at Bramall Lane, it was a tally that certainly kept them in touch with the top six.

After flirting tentatively with the play-offs last term, only to fall away at Easter, Rovers' hopes of "doing a Blackpool" aren't just a pipe dream, testimony to this being that several national pundits tipped them as top-six dark horses in the close season.

Walker said: "We have people who have been with us a few years. They

have got to know what Sean wants and he knows what he wants from them.

"Last year, we came close (to the play-offs) and earned respect from

the other teams halfway through the season when they realised that Doncaster were a force to be reckoned with and a very consistent side in terms of results. This year teams have given us even more respect

because we've earned that right.

"Results mean everything and we're doing okay. "