Ferguson's tribute to Rovers record-breaker Coppinger

James Coppinger
James Coppinger

Darren Ferguson says he wish he could have worked with Rovers record-breaker James Coppinger much earlier in his career.

Coppinger looks set to become the club's all time leading appearance maker in Saturday's FA Cup clash with Stalybridge Celtic.

And reflecting on the 34-year-old's career, Rovers boss Ferguson revealed he has long been an admirer of Coppinger.

"I just wish I'd have got hold of the boy five years ago and worked with him then," Ferguson said.

"Whenever I played against Doncaster, Copps was always mentioned as an important part of the team, the way he plays between the lines.

"I didn't know the boy but you start working with him and you see he's an outstanding player.

"The way he goes about his job is a great example to other players - not just the young ones but the older ones as well.

"To play for a club so many times, especially these days with managers chaging so often, to always be selected by different managers says it all really.

"That just shows the way he goes about his job. Yes, he's a good footballer and a very intelligent one, especially at this level.

"But there's the other side of it. The way he trains, the professionalism, the way he looks after himself.

"He understands at his age he's got to look after himself differently. After the Millwall game he was in the icebath and things like that don't go unnoticed.

"He could play for another two or three years. He doesn't miss games or training sessions.

"I think when they did testing in pre-season, he was one of the fittest players.

"He's a great lad."

Should be feature today, Coppinger will move onto 469 appearances for Rovers, surpassing Colin Douglas' 22-year record.