James Coppinger on game time and fitness as he readies for final year at Doncaster Rovers

He may not have played as many minutes as he would have liked towards the end of last season but James Coppinger insists he is not fazed by that as he heads into his final year at Doncaster Rovers.

By Liam Hoden
Friday, 17th July 2020, 11:35 am
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 11:36 am
James Coppinger
James Coppinger

The 39-year-old played in just two of Rovers’ final seven matches of the 2019/20 season, with boss Darren Moore opting to use other players.

But he says that did not play in his mind as he contemplated signing his new one-year contract with the club.

And he has pledged to all he can to prove he should be starting as many matches as possible next season.

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“I’m confident I will do all I can to be involved like I did last season in training and playing to prove to the manager that I’m still available and I can still do what he wants me to do,” he told the Free Press.

“Then it’s down to him.

“You need that platform and that person to believe in you, regardless of your age.

“That is all I can do.

“If the manager wants to play me less or play me more, it’s down to him. He’s the one that’s in charge.

“I’ve had conversations with him and explained that. I’m there to help him and it won’t change.”

Prior to the February 4 trip to Tranmere Rovers, Coppinger had been involved in each of the previous league matches in the season.

His run of matches was ended after he received a routine injection in his ankle to ease a condition known as ‘footballer’s ankle’ caused by years of wear and tear.

But he insists the injection was not the reason why he was not selected in the remaining games of the curtailed season, and has no fears over his ankle heading into the coming campaign.

“The ankle has never really been an issue,” he said.

“I started 26 out of the first 28 games and I was available every single day of training last season, barring one week.

“There was never any preferential treatment. I might have had a Monday off here or there but I think a lot of players do that are not even 39 - players that have got little niggles or degenerative conditions, in their knee or back, and they might be in their 20s.

“For me, it’s never about my ankle.

“It’s wear and tear and it’s going to come on with playing so many games.

“If I’m playing 26 games out of 28, it’s going to flare up. But within two weeks, after having the injection, it’s back to normal. And I can have four injections a year.”

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