Doncaster Rovers: I want to be a record-breaker, says James Coppinger

James Coppinger. Picture: Steve Uttley
James Coppinger. Picture: Steve Uttley

James Coppinger says the prospect of becoming Rovers’ leading all-time appearance maker only enhanced his desire to stay at the club.

Coppinger penned a new two-year deal at Doncaster over the summer, despite initially fearing his ten-year long stint with Rovers had reached the end of the road.

The 33-year-old became only the fourth Rovers player to clock up 400 appearances in all competitions towards the end of last season.

An ever-present this term, Coppinger has since moved onto 413 appearances - 55 shy of Colin Douglas’ club record 468.

“I’d love to break that record,” Coppinger said.

“When I did that interview earlier this summer [when I thought my time at Doncaster was over] it was a really difficult time for me.

“I’ve been at this club for the last ten years, and it felt so strange to be in a position where it looked like I needed to find a new club.

“Throughout all of that I never wanted to leave Doncaster - and that appearance record was something that was always in the back of my mind.

“If I can stay fit and stay in the team then I’ve got a good chance of breaking it. This is a great club and if I could break the record it’d mean a lot to me.”

Coppinger, who will be granted a testimonial match next summer, says he feels “fitter than ever”.

“I probably feel as strong as I ever have done,” said Coppinger.

“I was a bit of a late developer, and I didn’t really get my strength until I was about 24 or 25.

“As you get older you work out what works for you in training and the fact I feel so good now is probably down to the way I approach things.

“Obviously I’ve got the two-year contract which takes me to 35. Hopefully doing what I do will keep me in good shape until then.”

Coppinger, meanwhile, has revealed his delight at the recent appointment of former Doncaster manager Sean O’Driscoll as England’s new Under 19 boss.

He said: “I’ve kept in contact with Sean and I’m really pleased for him. To be honest I think it’s a massive scalp for England rather than Sean.

“He’s such a good coach and he’s brilliant at bringing players on. His enthusiasm for football and the way he wanted to play the game was infectious.

“He did things differently. That was a massive reason why we bought into his ideas and achieved what we did when he was here.”