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Doncaster Rovers: James Coppinger and Tommy Rowe set to feature against Birmingham City

James Coppinger
James Coppinger

James Coppinger and Tommy Rowe will step up their respective comebacks from injury starting with Friday’s friendly against Birmingham City.

Rowe continues to recover from a hamstring injury which required surgery before the end of last season.

And Coppinger – who trained for the first time on Tuesday – has not featured in pre-season so far after rolling his ankle in the training camp in La Manga earlier this month.

But both will be handed at least 30 minutes in the clash with the Championship side, which will take place at Solihull Moors.

Both Coppinger and Rowe will play some part in the youth team game at Staveley MW on July 30 to give them the best possible opportunity of being ready for the start of the season.

Boss Grant McCann said: “Tommy has looked incredible in training.

“To see him come back fit is going to be a boost for everyone.

“By all accounts he was playing at 60-70 per cent for 20 odd games last season.

“We’re delighted to have him back.

“Copps trained Tuesday for the first time.

“We monitored his training a bit. He joined in the first couple of parts and dropped him out of the running and 3v3 stuff we did as an overload.

“He’s good.”

McCann will hand more minutes to players in the upcoming friendlies as he looks to ensure they are in peak match fitness ahead of the August 4 season opener at Southend United.

Some will be handed a full 90 minutes on Friday evening while others will be given their first full matches in Tuesday’s trip to Grimsby Town.

The Rovers boss intimated that the players he sees most likely to feature against Southend will play together at Blundell Park and against Sheffield United at the Keepmoat on July 27.

McCann hopes that all available players will receive two 90 minute outings before the start of the season.

To ensure that, he has labelled Wednesday’s trip to Deeping Rangers as a senior game rather than a youth team match as originally planned.