How James Coppinger has reacted to being named as a sub for Doncaster Rovers recently

James Coppinger insists he is embracing the challenge of starting matches on the bench for Doncaster Rovers.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:15 am

The club’s all-time record appearance maker has been among the substitutes for three of the last six Rovers matches and missed out entirely for the win over Tranmere Rovers in midweek.

Boss Darren Moore has selected his teams according to match-specific plans, with starts for Coppinger coming in recent home matches.

While he may be 39, the veteran does not believe that plays a part in Moore’s decision making.

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James Coppinger

“I don’t think it’s got anything to do with my age because in the games that I have played I’ve got good distances, my minutes are up and I do feel fit,” Coppinger said.

“I just feel like that’s the player I am. Some games I won’t play because, for example, the pitch the other night or where he goes to a different system, the conditions and all that.

“It is what he is. He’s used it with different players, not just me.

“I actually enjoy the challenge.”

His positive outlook means Coppinger has not found the process of sitting out games difficult. And he believes it has had a positive impact on his overall game.

He said: “I’ve actually enjoyed, not enjoyed, not starting but it’s been a different challenge for me.

“I am 39 and I do believe I could start every game.

“But at the same time that is not what the manager does. That isn’t what he wants to do.

“So I’ve got to adapt to that and use it to my advantage which is being fresher, feeling better, I can offer more in training and offer more to the lads not starting. I can affect them.

“That’s the way I’ve got to use it and look at it.

“I actually enjoy the fact that when I do come in, I feel better.

“I’m not just playing, playing, playing for the sake of playing.”

When benched, Coppinger’s only focus is to make an impact when he is introduced.

And he admits he is itching to be sent on, particularly when he can spot areas where he could hurt the opposition.

He said: “Bristol Rovers away - I couldn’t wait to get on because it was the type of game where I think if I’d have started it would have been a different game. When I did come on I made a difference.

“I think you’ve got to try to do that. I’ll have to try to do that until the day I retire.”