DONCASTER Rovers’ longest-serving player James Coppinger is hoping for a change of fortune in this season’s FA Cup competition.
During his time at the club, Coppinger has tasted success in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at the Millennium Stadium, helped Rovers win promotion to the Championship, and enjoyed a run to the quarter-final of the Carling Cup.
Prior to winning promotion to the second tier of English football, Rovers managed to reach the third round on a couple of occasions.
But they have never got past the fourth round during Coppinger’s time at the club - being beaten 3-1 in a fourth round replay by Aston Villa in 2008-09 and losing 1-0 away to Derby County the following season.
They were beaten 5-0 by Wolves in a third round replay at Molineux last season.
Rovers will be hoping to at least improve on last season when they entertain League One Notts County at the Keepmoat Stadium in their third round tie on Saturday.
But Coppinger has been in the game too long to take anything for granted.
“The FA Cup can throw up all sorts of results and we’ve got to be prepared for a tough game,” he told The Star.
“Manager Martin Allen will get Notts County up for the game and it’s an opportunity for them to try and beat a higher-placed club and they’ll be looking to impose themselves on us.
“I’m sure that they’d be happy to take us back to their place but I don’t think that they will come here looking for a draw; I think they’ll be looking to try and win the game.
“You still look forward to it but I think FA Cup games were probably bigger and meant more for the players when the club was in League Two and League One,” he said.
“When you are playing in the Championship and fighting for your lives, like we are at the moment, the priority is the league,
“The FA Cup can work in two ways. It can become a distraction - particularly if you get things like replays - or it can be a competition where you forget about the league and play with less pressure.
“A good FA Cup run can also lead to better results in the league.
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