Doncaster Rovers: James Coppinger hails John Marquis' contribution ahead of Keepmoat return

When it comes to signings at Doncaster Rovers in recent seasons, there can be no doubting that the acquisition of John Marquis was one of the best.

John Marquis in action for Portsmouth
John Marquis in action for Portsmouth

The striker arrived at the Keepmoat on a free transfer as a relative unknown after leaving boyhood club Millwall. And plenty of hope was placed on his shoulders as Rovers looked to fire their way out of League Two at the first attempt.

After successfully doing that in his first campaign and repeating his goalscoring turn over the following two seasons, he left the Keepmoat with a record of 66 goals in 153 appearances with his prowess in front of goal telling only half the story.

Marquis will make his return on Saturday with Portsmouth, the side he joined for close to £2m a few days before the start of the season as he fulfilled his wish to move south to be closer to the families of both he and his wife.

Despite his excellent record and the tremendous value the signing proved to be, Marquis simply did not click with some sections of the Rovers support.

His demeanour on the pitch certainly played a part in that. His frustration at mis-placed passes or the missing of a run off the ball proved difficult to hide.

Whatever the thoughts towards Marquis, Rovers veteran James Coppinger believes there should be plenty of gratitude should be sent his way also.

“John needed to leave,” Coppinger said. “I think the time was right, he’d done fantastic for this club.

“When we signed him in League Two, he was the perfect fit.

“We needed someone like him who would score goals and demand every day.

“His standards were really high and he demanded off everyone.

“For the last two or three seasons he was outstanding.

“The timing was right, he’s left.”

Coppinger admits he is looking forward to locking horns with his former team mate this weekend at the Keepmoat as Marquis looks to ignite stuttering Pompey.

“It’ll be interesting to pit our wits against him,” he said. “The two centre halves will be looking forward to it – Tom [Anderson] worked with him all last season.

“We’ll be looking forward to it.

“Hopefully he won’t score and we'll put in a good performance.”

Rovers boss Darren Moore only worked alongside Marquis for a matter of weeks after his appointment but felt he saw plenty of what the striker is all about.

“I think John was very passionate about his side of the game," Moore said.

“He put a lot of demands on himself at the very highest level to want to score goals and believe that he could score goals in every single game.

“While ever the individual has got that you can't knock it out of them. You want to keep that in them.

“He’s got that wonderful desire. He eats, sleeps and breathes the game. He wants the best and to do the best in the game.

“That’s what I got from him in the time.

“We wish him well. He's gone on and moved on after he's done the job what he needed to do here.

“We prepare, if he should play on Saturday, and we know the threat he carries.”