It’s safety first for Coppinger just wants to be safe

Battling for survival: James Coppinger in full flow against Crystal Palace last weekend. Picture: Steve Taylor
Battling for survival: James Coppinger in full flow against Crystal Palace last weekend. Picture: Steve Taylor
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DONCASTER Rovers’ star James Coppinger would like nothing better than to see the club finally banish any lingering relegation worries in tomorrow’s game against Leicester City at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Coppinger had hoped that Rovers would secure their Championship status over the Easter break.

But though playing well in both the Good Friday home game against Crystal Palace and the derby at Oakwell on Easter Monday, Rovers banked just two points,

“It was a tad disappointing to put in such a good performance at Barnsley on Easter Monday and only come away with a draw,” said Coppinger.

“It was our second game in four days and the weather was hot. But I thought mentally as a team we were so focused and it was probably one of our best performances of the season.

“They had nothing to lose so they had the freedom to try to score goals without really having to worry so much about defending,” he said.

“They had a few shots on goal and hit the woodwork, but I thought that we defended really well in open play - both their goals coming from set plays - at the same time as creating a lot of opportunities, so we’ll take a lot of positives into tomorrow’s game.”

That result, and Sheffield United’s surprise win at Reading on the same day, means that mathematically, Rovers still aren’t safe.

“It is highly unlikely that Sheffield United will catch us, though it is still possible,” said Coppinger.

“Whatever happens, you’ve got to take your hat off to the Blades. They are down there and the pressure is on but they’ve put some late results together.

“A fortnight or so ago they looked down and out and the least likely of the bottom three to mount a late rally.

“But if we can put in performance like we have done in our last two in our two remaining games then I think that we’ll quite comfortably stay up.

“We are in a lot better position now than we were before the Barnsley game because the two highest-placed teams in the bottom three, who could have closed the gap to two or three points had they won and we lost, both lost whilst we picked up a point.”

Looking ahead to the Leicester game, Coppinger told The Star: “They have got a lot of fire-power and they will be coming here tomorrow looking to try and score goals against us.

“They’ve got to win both their remaining games and hope that other results also go their way if they are to be in with a chance of making the play-offs.

“I think it will be disappointing for them if they don’t in view of the money they have spent, though they didn’t have a good start to the season.

“They came good when Sven (Goran Eriksson) first arrived and they brought in some good players, but they’ve been a bit inconsistent of late.

“A lot of other teams have hit form at the right time recently and as such it might be just a bit too late for Leicester.

“They are relying on other teams, whereas our destiny lies in our own hands and that is one of the good things about where we are.

“That has always been the case ever since we got dragged into the relegation dog-fight and that has been a big advantage.

“You think that you are under pressure when you are down near the bottom but as soon as you become adrift of the teams above the relegation zone the pressure becomes 10 times worse.”