JAMES Coppinger has been one of the lucky ones in what has been an injury-hit season for Doncaster Rovers.
The 30 year-old has started 34 games and come off the bench twice.
“I think I’ve played the most games this season along with John (Oster),” he said.
Although pleased to have avoided serious injury, the club’s longest-serving player says the number of games he’s played, along with the training and long coach trips, starts to take it’s toll at this time of the year.
“It’s been a long season in a division where there are no easy games,” he said. “It was very hard recovering from the game at Bristol City, which was played on a hot day - and I don’t think that I had fully recovered before Thursday. I was just glad that we didn’t have a midweek game the following week.
“I’ve recently started taking a vitamin tablet and supplements to try and recover quicker. I want to put everything I’ve got into the remaining games, like every other player, and hopefully help the club collect enough points to stay in this division.”
Rovers had been hoping to go a long way towards putting the relegation issue to bed with back-to-back home games and there was a feeling of disappointment in the camp having only banked one point from a 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Preston on Tuesday.
Coppinger is hopeful that Rovers, who are eight points clear of third-bottom Scunthorpe with just five games to go, have enough of a cushion to retain their Championship status, but he admits that it has not been the best of campaigns for the club.
“This is the first season that I’ve been here that we’ve taken a backward step which is disappointing from a personal perspective,” he said. He is happier with how things have gone on a personal level.
“As far as the things I’ve worked on this season - more end product and adding to my game and trying to improve my shooting, it has worked out well for me
“But it is obviously disappointing that the team haven’t progressed as we hoped. We had been hoping to challenge for a top-six spot and we were fairly well placed to do that until the injuries started to pile up.
“We’ve had over a dozen players out at times this year and every part of the team has been affected - none more so than the back-four. We’ve rarely had a settled back-four and that has an impact on other areas of the team.
“We’ve had to play centre-backs at full-back at times and that’s why I’ve been glad to see Mussy (Mustapha Dumbuya and Jim O’Connor back there.”
Despite having picked up just one point in four games, Coppinger takes heart from the fact that the team has played well enough to have won all four.
“We’ll be looking to pick up a win at Hull on Saturday.
“They have a better away record but they still have a chance of making the play-offs so it will be a tough game.”