DONCASTER Rovers’ star James Coppinger is hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky in Saturday’s Championship encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Rovers were unlucky to come away empty-handed from their first visit to the Bluebirds’ new home in the 2009-10 campaign - a 90th minute goal by striker Jay Bothroyd sentencing them to a 2-1 defeat.
Rovers, who haven’t won in the city since the 1996-97 season, lost 4-0 there last season.
The game marked the debut of Welsh international Craig Bellamy, who joined the club on a season-long loan from Manchester City.
“I personally think it is a tough place to go,” said Coppinger, who has spent the last 10 days having treatment for a couple of grade one calf muscle tears.
“They started the season well with a win at West Ham and they’ve only lost one game - against Brighton - so I’d imagine that they are pleased with how it’s going.
“It’s a new regime this season with a new manager in Malky Mackay and a few new faces in their squad.
“I wasn’t surprised to see manager David Jones go to be honest; I expected it.
“He had two good attempts at winning promotion to the Premier League and failed and the Cardiff board obviously felt that it was time for someone else to come in and try a different approach.
“Malky Mackay did really well during his time in charge at Watford - particularly last season - when they did well after nobody gave them a chance.
“He seems to get the best out of his players, which is a good thing.
“He got Watford playing some good football and he’ll be looking for Cardiff to do the same. They’ve got some good players, a lot of whom like to play football.
“They lost some good players during the summer but they’ve brought in the likes of Robert Earnshaw and Kenny Miller.
“Peter Whittingham, who sort of pulls the strings as well as being dangerous from free-kicks, is still there.”
Frustrated at having missed the last couple of games, Coppinger has been called upon to play a different role on occasions since reporting back for pre-season training.
“I played in midfield in the first half of the West Ham game,” he recalled. “Although I’m happy to play anywhere the manager wants me to play to help the team, I don’t think that it is my best position. I prefer playing out wide because it gives me more freedom to do what I want.
“It’s totally different playing a more central role; you can’t be as creative and you’ve got to be more disciplined.
“But I’d rather play there than not be in the team and if the manager feels that I can do a job there for the team then that gives me the confidence.”