Doncaster Rovers: League Two success ‘may have hidden how much side was still in development’

James Coppinger
James Coppinger
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James Coppinger believes last season’s success for Doncaster Rovers may have masked the fact they are still a team in development.

After sweeping to promotion from League Two last term, Rovers have endured a few teething problems on their return to the third tier.

Much has been made of the youthful nature of the current squad, many of whom were present for the relative stroll to promotion last season.

While he admits the learning curve has been much steeper in League One, skipper Coppinger says there was still plenty to be learned in the division below.

“I think you’re always learning as a team,” Coppinger told The Star.

“Last season we were a team in development.

“It’s a big step up in this division because of the experience in teams.

“There is a lot of teams with a lot of experience. It counts for a lot as you get in the higher divisions.

“If you look in the Championship, there are not many teams that have a group of young players performing week in, week out.

“You’re going to have inconsistent performances but it is important that when you have those inconsistent performances that you still pick up results.

“I think the formation that we’re working with now is working for us in that way.”

Veteran Coppinger showed plenty of confidence in his experience when scoring his second of two goals in Saturday’s FA Cup win at Ebbsfleet United.

The 36-year-old produced a ‘Panenka’ dinked finish from the penalty spot to net Rovers’ fifth in the come-from-behind triumph.

Though they had a cushion at that point, Coppinger insists he would still have attempted the audacious finish had the game been tighter.

He said: “I probably would have to be honest.

“I’m not getting any younger and it’s one I’ve always wanted to try.

“I think it’s a good way to score. The keeper is always going to move.

“Going down the middle has always been successful.

“For the next one I don’t think I’ll be doing that one again. I’ve done it once now.”