Doncaster Rovers: ‘People moving on is fact of life for club but we can still be successful’ - James Coppinger

James Coppinger believes managers and players moving on is a fact of life for Doncaster Rovers - but that does not mean the club cannot be successful.

By Liam Hoden
Sunday, 07 July, 2019, 07:00
James Coppinger (right) in pre-season training with Matty Blair

After guiding Rovers into the play-offs last season, Grant McCann departed the Keepmoat to take charge of Championship side Hull City while striker John Marquis is also expected to leave this summer.

With the club operating on a sustainable model and maintaining the playing budget at similar levels relative to the rest of League One each year, Coppinger thinks it will be difficult to hold onto players and staff after successful campaigns.

But he believes giving promising young players a platform to prove themselves can see Rovers progress at the same time.

"If these players have big seasons then there is always a chance they could go," Coppinger told the Free Press.

"But I think that could happen no matter what club you're at to a certain extent.

"The bigger the club, the more chance the player is going to stay,.

"The likes of John and Ben [Whiteman] - who people are interested in - people are looking for those types of players in the Championship and Premier League - young players who show they can step up in the big games and be consistent.

"If Doncaster can bring players in like that who do well and move on, you can still be successful.

"You almost can give them the foundation to go on to a successful career and go on and do well.

"That doesn't mean Rovers can't be successful while that is going on."

Though McCann's departure was rather sudden, Coppinger says he was not surprised to see the Ulsterman lured away.

"I don't think it's a surprise," the 38-year-old said.

"It's not just Grant but being part of Doncaster as a club at the minute, over the last three or four years it's changed in the way it does things.

"I feel like with regards to players or managers, if they have an exceptional season where they do well, we're always going to be susceptible for that to happen.

"With the season we had last year, certain players overperformed and did really well and obviously the manager came in and we were successful getting into the play-offs and almost getting to Wembley.

"It didn't really surprise me to be honest.

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The veteran forward says players should not be lambasted for leaving to further their careers or find greater financial security.

Coppinger is about to enter his 16th season as a Rovers player.

And he believes it will be difficult for the club to hold onto their strongest players for long terms, unless they break with their policy of sustainability.

He said: "You're never really going to be able to do it long term without offering these players certain contracts.

"It's a short career and these players want to be successful and all different sorts of motivation.

"Money talks in any sort of sector, in any job, so if you're getting offered a bigger contract and a longer term, it's going to be difficult for you to stay.

"I feel like if you cling onto that and think people should stay, I don't think it's the right thing to do. You have to think 'fair play, you've moved on and we need to keep doing what we're doing and bring players in that want to play.'"

Though he understands that some supporters may grow frustrated with seeing top performers depart, Coppinger says fans have a club they can have a great deal of pride in.

He said: "I look at clubs like Bolton and Bury who have tried to get quick success and what has happened to them.

"It's difficult for fans seeing their best players go and really good managers go but they've got a club to be proud of.

"They should be proud of their club,

"You can do it in a different way.

"The way we've done it over the past two or three seasons is different from what I've seen in the past here.

"Everyone has bought into it and I don't see why we can't do that again.

"We're starting, not from scratch, but we're going to have to move quickly and keep people on board really."