DONCASTER Rovers are weighing up a permanent move for Saints full-back Joseph Mills this summer.

The 21-year-old has returned to St Mary’s after spending most of last season on loan at the Championship club.

Mills impressed during his time at Doncaster, becoming the team’s regular left-back.

Injury cut his campaign short, but he could soon make a return to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Doncaster operate on a tight budget, but Rovers boss Sean O’Driscoll likes the player and is understood to be keen on bringing him back if he can.

Mills has Dan Harding – new contract permitting – and Ryan Dickson currently ahead of him at Saints, while 19-year-old full-back Ben Reeves is also coming through.

And, with Adam Lallana on the left of midfield, where Mills can also play, as well as Lee Holmes returning to fitness, Saints may be willing to cut a deal that would free up space in the squad and on the wage bill.

Mills himself has always left the door open for a permanent switch this summer.

Addressing the issue back in February, he said: “I’ve obviously still got a year left on my contract at Southampton.

“But they’ve obviously got two left-backs who are playing in front of me at this moment in time.

“So it is up to the manager at Southampton whether he wants to let me go and, most importantly, whether the Doncaster manager wants to sign me.”

Like most clubs, Rovers are currently sorting out the futures of their out-of-contract players.

But, once that is out of the way, O’Driscoll is likely to turn his attention towards bringing in some new signings.

Mills’ displays will probably make him one of the former Cherries manager’s key priorities.

The defender was initially brought in last October on a short-term switch to help provide cover for an injury crisis at the Keepmoat.

After a month there, he had impressed sufficiently to have his deal extended until mid-January.

Although he suffered a cracked tibia and knee ligament damage in the new year, Mills’ loan was still renewed until the end of the season.

While at Doncaster, Mills won the regular left-back job from George Friend, who was converted into a centre-half.

He made 19 appearances for Rovers, while also chipping in with a pair of goals.

However, his season ended in early April when he tore a hamstring in a 3-1 defeat at home to Cardiff.

Doncaster have said that problem is now more or less resolved, though.