James Coppinger: ‘Everyone’s got an opportunity to write their name in the club’s history’

James Coppinger celebrates winning the League One title in dramatic fashion in 2013.
James Coppinger celebrates winning the League One title in dramatic fashion in 2013.
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James Coppinger did not really want to go through the drama and emotion of another Brentford scenario.

Especially one that could relegate Hartlepool United, a club where he spent time on loan early in his career and one located close to his home, out of the Football League.

And especially after the stomach-churning final day drama at Leicester City three years ago that saw Rovers relegated from the Championship.

But that is exactly what he has got, ableit with slightly less riding on this one.

Unlike when Coppinger scored that memorable last gasp winner at Griffin Park which saw Doncaster clinch the League One title, Rovers head to Victoria Park tomorrow with promotion already in the bag.

But the context, which again sees Rovers having surrendered top spot in their penultimate game - four years ago it was to Bournemouth and this season it is to Plymouth Argyle - is frighteningly similar.

And Coppinger, 36, is only too aware what is at stake on a team and also a personal level as Doncaster prepare for yet another final day decider.

“Everyone’s got an opportunity to write their name in the club’s history,” he said.

“Those sort of opportunities don’t come round very often so it’s something the lads will be aware of.

“I remember rooming with Dean Furman at the time and saying the same thing to him the night before the Brentford game.

“Strange things do happen.

“I never actually thought about the Bournemouth Tranmere game because I was so focused on beating Brentford,” he added. “So we’ve got to make sure we’re focused on the game at Hartlepool and forget about the Plymouth game. Make sure we’re focused on what we’re doing and what we can affect, and just hope that things go our way.

“It’s going to be quite a hostile atmosphere. With it being on television as well that adds a bit of extra spice so it should be a magnificent game to be a part of.”

Rovers’ run of one draw and three straight defeats since promotion was obtained has handed the baton to Plymouth, who go to Grimsby Town; a run caused by several factors, according to Coppinger.

“I think it’s a combination of things, you can’t solely put your finger on one thing.

“We’ve had a difficult run-in, a lot of the teams we’ve been played have been tough. They’ve been either in the play-offs or chasing a play-off place.

“We’ve had a few injuries, players coming in and out.

“And we’ve been promoted at the same time, so I definitely think it’s a combination of a lot of things.

“It’s fine margins. It’s not just as easy as we’ve got promoted now we’re going to win the league.

“Since the Colchester game there’s definitely been a different feel, as in we’ve been promoted, we should be happy and pleased with how the season’s gone. But since that game, I don’t know whether it was pressure, but there was a different feel which has obviously taken its toll.

“I think you have to have perspective on the whole situation and the whole season, and we’ve had an amazing season. If we were to go and clinch it on Saturday it would obviously be the icing on the cake.”