DONCASTER Rovers star James Coppinger will line up against the team he supported is a boy in today’s Championship clash against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Coppinger made his first start since pulling a leg muscle during the warm-up against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium in Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw against Coventry at the Keepmoat Stadium, after coming off the bench in the final quarter of Saturday’s game at Elland Road.
“It was good to be back on Tuesday,” said Rovers’ longest-serving player. “I didn’t get in the game much in the first half because of the way they played, but we started to get the ball wider in the second half and that gave me the chance to run at them.”
Whilst Rovers were being held to a draw, Forest were suffering a second defeat in four days, away at lowly Sheffield United.
“I know some people might say that we are catching them at the right time, but the fact they’ve lost their last two could work against us,” said Coppinger.
“I expect them to be fired up for the game and they’ll no doubt fancy their chances of picking up the three points given our recent record.
“We’ll certainly have to play better than we did at Leeds to come away with a result, but we showed at Norwich that we can go away to the top sides and pick up points.
“That’s what we’ve got to try and do in every game until it is mathematically impossible to finish in the bottom three.”
“It’s obviously bad news that Billy (Sharp) looks like being out for a while, but at least Hayts (James Hayter) is back and we are getting one or two others back so the squad is starting to look stronger.
“We’ve had the worst run of injuries at any club that I’ve played for and it has affected performances and results. I don’t think too many teams, even those with bigger squads. would have done any better given that many injuries to key players.”
Said Rovers boss Sean O’Driscoll: “We aren’t the only people who have found it difficult to cope when we’ve lost key players, Forest have had a problem with one or two injuries that have affected them and they’ve got one of the strongest squads in the division and are one of the biggest clubs.
“They are too good a team and they have too good a squad to let it affect them.
“To go 32 games at home without defeat (prior to losing against Hull) is a magnificent achievement in a division as competitive as the Championship, They’ll be one of the teams fighting for automatic promotion or the play-offs come the end of the season.”
Former Doncaster Rovers defender Sean McDaid has been told to hang up his boots due to complications with a knee injury. McDaid, at Carlisle United, suffered the initial problem in a clash at Exeter City six months ago.