Coppinger escapes Rovers injury curse

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JAMES Coppinger has been one of the lucky ones in an injury-hit season for Doncaster Rovers.

The 30 year-old has started 34 games and come off the bench twice.

“I think I’ve played the most games this season along with John (Oster),” he said this week.

Although pleased to have avoided serious injury, the club’s longest-serving player says the number of games he’s played, along with the training and long coach trips, starts to take it’s toll at this time of the year.

“It’s been a long season in a division where there are no easy games,” he said.

Coppinger is hopeful that Rovers, who are eight points clear of third-bottom Scunthorpe with just five games to go, have enough of a cushion to retain their Championship status.

But he admits that it has not been the best of campaigns for the club.

“This is the first season that I’ve been here that we’ve taken a backward step, which is disappointing from a personal perspective,” he said.

He is happier with how things have gone on a personal level.

“As far as the things I’ve worked on this season - more end product and adding to my game and trying to improve my shooting - it has worked out well for me,” he said.

“But, as I say, it is obviously disappointing that the team haven’t progressed as we hoped. We had been hoping to challenge for a top-six spot and we were fairly well placed to do that until the injuries started to pile up.

“As everyone knows, we’ve had over a dozen players out at times this year and every part of the team has been affected - none more so than the back four.

We’ve rarely had a settled back four all season and that has an impact in other areas of the team.”